SC sentences Justice Karnan to six months imprisonment

The Supreme Court on Tuesday sentenced controversial Calcutta high court judge C.S. Karnan to six-month imprisonment for repeated incidents of contempt of court. The court ordered for him to be arrested forthwith. “We are of the unanimous view that he is in contempt of the judicial process,” a seven-judge bench headed by chief justice of India J.S. Khehar held. The imprisonment order was passed after Karnan refused to undergo medical tests in compliance with courts’ earlier orders, in view of his conduct.

On 1 March, the apex court had ordered a Calcutta government hospital to constitute a medical board, examine his condition and submit a report to the court by 8 May. The medical board was to be assisted by the West Bengal director general of police (DGP) and a team of police personnel in carrying out the directions passed by the court. The court had also restrained all courts and tribunals from taking cognizance of any orders issued by judge Karnan since the start of proceedings against him.

Karnan had refused to undergo the medical examination and thereafter issued an order sentencing eight judges of the Supreme Court to five years of “rigorous imprisonment” and imposed a fine of Rs1,00,000 each under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 and the amended Act of 2015. The eight include members of the seven-judge bench, headed by chief justice of India J.S. Khehar, which had in February issued a contempt order against him. The apex court had in February issued a contempt notice to the judge, who had accused several judges of corruption, nepotism and casteism.

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