New Delhi : In an unprecedented order, the Supreme Court today issued bailable warrants against serving Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan to ensure his presence before it on March 31 in a contempt case.
Justice Karnan goes down in the Indian judicial history as the first serving High Court judge against whom an arrest warrant has been issued by the apex court in a contempt case.
A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar took strong note of Justice Karnan’s non-appearance despite being served with the contempt notice and asked the Director General of West Bengal Police to execute the warrants on the judge to ensure his presence at 10.30 AM on March 31.
The court said it would “appreciate” if the bailable warrants are served on Justice Karnan by the DGP.
“Notice of this petition has been duly served. Despite service, wherein the personal presence of Shri Justice C S Karnan, in this Court, was imperative, he has neither entered appearance in person, nor through counsel,” the bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, said.
“In view of the above, there is no other alternative but to seek the presence of Shri Justice C S Karnan by issuing bailable warrants. Ordered accordingly. Bailable warrants, in the sum of Rs 10,000, in the nature of a personal bond, to the satisfaction of the arresting officer, be issued, to ensure the presence of Shri Justice C S Karnan, in this Court, on March 31 at 10.30 A.M,” it said.
The bench during a 15-minute-long hearing that took place in the packed CJI’s courtroom referred to Justice Karnan’s fax message sent to the apex court registry on March 8 seeking a meeting with the CJI to discuss “certain administrative issues”.
It said the message “primarily seem to reflect the allegations levelled by him against certain named judges. The above fax message, dated March 8, cannot be considered as a response of Justice C S Karnan, either to the contempt petition, or to the notice served upon him.”
At the outset, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that Justice Karnan had defied the Supreme Court order and the apex court rules on contempt provide for issuance of bailable and non-bailable warrants against a contemnor to ensure his presence.