New Delhi, Mar 31 (PTI) Embattled Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan today appeared in the Supreme Court in the contempt case against him, a first in Indian judicial history, and sought restoration of his powers as a condition for his re-appearance, but the plea was rejected. Also Read - Ahead of Talks, SC Panel Member Says Will Seek Views of Farmers, Stakeholders on Farm Laws
A defiant Justice Karnan told the court he would not appear before it again even if he was arrested and put in jail. Also Read - Deadlock Continues as Centre-farmers Talks Remain Inconclusive, Next Meet on Jan 19
A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, granted him four weeks to respond to the contempt notice while refusing to restore his judicial and administrative powers as a serving High Court judge. Also Read - Breaking News January 15 Updates
The bench, at the outset, referred to Justice Karnan’s March 23 communication, in which he had sought to withdraw his earlier letters allegedly casting aspersions on other judges, and asked him whether he wanted to tender “unconditional apology”.
“Can we take it that you are reiterating whatever you have said in your communication (of March 23)? Should we record this? Be careful in your response.
“First tell us if you affirm whatever you have said? If you will say allow me to think, we will allow you,” the bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, said.
“Actually, I am not a contemnor. My work has been taken away for me without any notice to me or without giving me an opportunity to be heard. For the last two months, I have gone through so much, people ask me questions about it and I have no answer. You all have taken a suo motu contempt proceeding against me, you have issued notice to me but at the same time you fixed the punishment by taking away my work,” Justice Karnan said.
To this, the bench said he was not answering the question whether he was tendering the apology and suggested that he may take time or legal help for formulating the response.
The bench went to the extent of suggesting Justice Karnan, who had defiantly refused to appear before the bench despite summons, that he may file some medical records pertaining to his mental condition.
“It is just a suggestion, if you feel that you are not mentally fit to respond to us, you can give medical records,” it said.
“I do not need medical records. Without hearing me, how can this be done,” Justice Karnan replied at the fag end of the hearing and sought restoration of his powers, but the demand was rejected.
Justice Karnan kept arguing in support of his demand even when the judges were rising. Later, he raised his voice and said, “Please don’t punish me like this without hearing my side. Otherwise, I will not appear. Principle of natural justice is not this.
“Please record that I will not appear before you on the next date. You can arrest me and put me in jail.” (More)
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.