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Justice Karnan

Absconding Justice Karnan retires today: All you need to know about why SC ordered his arrest

Today, Calcutta high court’s Justice CS Karnan will become the first judge of a high court to retire while facing arrest and absconding. A Kolkata police team has gone to Chennai as the Justice is likely to address a press conference there on Tuesday.

Here’s what has brought Justice Karnan to this point in his career:

1. THE CASE
Justice Karnan has been absconding+ since May 9 when a seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court passed an unprecedented arrest order against the constitutional court judge.

2. DUBIOUS DISTINCTION
His arrest was ordered after he was convicted in a contempt of court case by the Supreme Court+ ; he was awarded a six-month sentence. The Justice became the first sitting High Court judge to be convicted for contempt.
3. APPOINTED AS JUDGE
Justice Karnan was born on June 12, 1955. In March 2009, he was appointed Madras High Court judge. He was transferred to West Bengal in 2016 by the Supreme Court.

4. THE CONTROVERSY
In January this year, Justice Karnan stirred a hornet’s nest after he alleged that 20 sitting and retired Supreme Court and High Court judges are corrupt.

5. MANY DUBIOUS FIRSTS
In November 2011, he became the first judge of a high court to move the National Commission for SCs and STs, complaining of harassment by fellow judges. He was the first judge to barge into the court hall of another division bench (of the Madras high court) while it was hearing a case and declare that he too would be a litigant opposing the choice of certain names of advocates for elevation as judges of the court.

6. JUSTICE KARNAN GUILTY
In May, Justice Karnan ordered the arrest of eight Supreme Court (SC) judges. A day later, a seven-judge SC bench sentenced him to six-months in jail finding him guilty of contempt of court+ .

7. ‘MENTAL STABILITY’
The Supreme Court also directed him to undergo psychiatric analysis for mental stability+

8. EVADING ARREST

Before the West Bengal Police could arrest him, the controversial judge reportedly left for Tamil Nadu and was seen chatting with his visitors and journalists at the state guest house for until a couple of hours after the apex court’s arrest order. He went underground soon+ after and neither his personal security nor protocol officials were aware he was going to do so.

9. AND, THE MERCY PLEA BEFORE PRESIDENT

 On May 18, the controversial judge filed a mercy plea before President Pranab Mukherjee seeking a stay on the SC’s arrest order. According to his counsel Peter Ramesh Kumar, the mercy plea was filed under Article 72 1B of the Constitution.

10. NO FAREWELL FOR THE JUDGE

 Justice Karnan won’t receive any formal farewell and won’t get a chance to give his farewell speech at the court. Therefore, he will also hold the dubious distinction of becoming the first high court judge to miss out on his farewell.

 

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