Retd Justice CS Karnan, At War With SC Judges, Arrested In Coimbatore

COIMBATORE: Almost six weeks after the Supreme Court ordered his arrest for contempt of court, Justice CS Karnan, who retired last week, was arrested today at Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore by the West Bengal Police. He will be flown to Chennai tonight, brought to Kolkata tomorrow and sent to Presidency jail.

Asked if Justice Karnan would first be produced in court in Kolkata, an officer of the Criminal Investigation Department of West Bengal Police, which conducted the arrest, said, no question. “The Supreme Court has already ordered a jail term of six months for him,” the officer said.

Justice Karnan is the first ever sitting high court judge to have had an arrest warrant issued against and sentenced to a jail term. The Supreme Court also ordered that his “mental health” be examined before it ordered his arrest on May 9.

Justice Karnan, 62, repeatedly claimed he was been victimised because he was a Dalit.

Transferred last year from Chennai to Kolkata, Justice Karnan had written to the Prime Minister and president in January accusing several judges of corruption.

In response, the Supreme Court issued a suo moto contempt case against him and summoned him to appear before a seven-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Justice JS Khehar.

The top court also ordered Calcutta High Court to not assign any case to Justice Karnan. No judicial body was to recognise his orders, it said.

What followed was unprecedented. For every order issued by Supreme Court, Justice Karnan passed a counter order, even, at one point, ordering the arrest of the top court judges. He also refused to undergo any mental health tests saying, “I am fine, I am normal.”

When the Supreme Court ordered his arrest, Justice Karnan flew off to Chennai before the West Bengal police could catch him, held a press meet there and then disappeared. His associates were mum on his whereabouts. A police team from Kolkata camped in Chennai for weeks, in vain.

Today, finally, he was tracked down to Coimbatore and arrested, ending, at least for now, an ignominious chapter in India’s judicial history.