Constitutional bench of Supreme Court orders medical examination of Calcutta HC judge Karnan
Team SoOLEGAL 1 May 2017

Constitutional bench of Supreme Court orders medical examination of Calcutta HC judge Karnan

On Monday A Seven Judge Constitution Bench of Supreme Court of India ordered the medical examination of Justice Karnan, who is facing contempt proceedings of court. The Bench has found that he is not in a position to defend himself now.

The Constitution Bench of Supreme Court has directed DGP, West Bengal to constitute a team of police personnel to get examination conducted. The Medical Board has to submit report by 8th May 2017.

The seven judge bench was particularly angry over two recent “judicial orders” passed by Justice Karnan (when he was restrained from issuing judicial or administrative orders)summoning the judges of seven judge bench at his residence and directing the Air Control Authority of India not to allow the SC judges in the bench from travelling abroad.

Chief justice J S Khehar said “This is in complete violation of our order” adding to it was more serious than his earlier letters leveling corruption charges. The Bench has also directed all Courts and other authorities not to take cognizance of any orders passed by Justice Karnan after 8.2.2017.


“While issuing notice against Justice C S Karnan on 8.2.2017 this court had directed that he would forthwith be restrained from passing any administrative or judicial orders.He was directed to return all files to Registrar General of the High Court.”

“Ever since initiation of proceedings Justice Karnan has been making press statements. After the last date of hearing on 31.3.2017 also he passed some judicial orders which has been received by this court.In order to ensure no court, tribunal or authority takes cognizance of orders passed by Justice Karnan, we restrain all courts tribunal authorities from acting on his orders”

“The press briefing and the orders issued by him indicate that he may not be in a position to defend himself. Therefore we consider in the fitness of matter that he may be medically examined by a medical board of a government hospital”



  • On March 31Karnan had ended his defiance when he finally appeared before the 7 judge constitutional bench of CJI J S Khehar and Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Pinaki C Ghose and Kurian Joseph in the contempt proceedings for leveling scandalous corruption charges against sitting and retired SC judges and handed over a two-page letter. But he had kept a vacillating stand — sometimes ready to apologise but at other times daring the apex court to send him to jail. He had even repeated the corruption charges. The bench had given him four weeks time to file a written reply.

  • On April 13 he issued an “order” asking CJI and the six judges to appear before him at his New Town residence by April 24 for violating his rights as a Dalit and humiliating him in public.

  • Karnan called the media to his residence and passed the suo motu order “in the interest of the nation to protect the general public…..”

  • Karnan’s order called the seven SC judges “national offenders” and said they had shown caste prejudice against him and insulted him on March 31 by asking about his mental health. “Hence all the seven judges are offenders under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act,” said the nine-page signed order. “The Hon’ble judges will appear before me at my Rosedale Residential Court and give me their views on the quantum of punishment for the violation…..,” said the order.

  • In an order last Thursday, Karnan directed the director, Airports Authority, New Delhi, not to permit any of the seven SC judges to travel abroad and ordered the judges to “surrender” their passports to the director general of Delhi Police. None of the judges, said Karnan’s order, were permitted to move any other court against his order but could approach the Parliament to challenge his order.

  • The order also directed the Registry of the Supreme Court not to clear pension benefits of the seven judges till he received the compensation of Rs 14 crore which he had mentioned in an earlier order. It also appealed to foreign countries having cordial relation with India to not issue visa to any of the seven SC judges.

  • In an order unprecedented in the annals of Indian judiciary, the Supreme Court had on March 10 issued bailable warrant against Karnan for non-appearance in the case wherein he has slapped with a contempt notice for writing scandalous letters leveling grave corruption charges against sitting and retired apex court judges.

  • Adding more drama to the entire episode Karnan, known for his several controversial acts earlier, had at the inception itself called a press conference in Kolkata and termed the warrant “unconstitutional” and alleged he was being targeted for being a Dalit.

  • He also went on to allege that the court order amounted to an offence under the SC and ST (Prevention of) Atrocities Act and challenged the court to refer his case to Parliament.

In addition writing to the PM seeking a probe against corrupt HC and SC judges, Justice Karnan, who is known for his maverick ways, had earlier controversially opposed the verdict of the Collegium to transfer him to Calcutta from Madras and had himself stayed the order.

It happend in February last year, when he had allegedly shouted at the Registrar cum Personal Secretary of Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul (now a SC judge) and also proceeded to suo moto take up (on the judicial side) his own transfer order.

The Supreme Court had then directed the Chief Justice of the High Court not assign any further judicial work to Justice Karnan on account of his transfer.

Recently senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani wrote a contemptuous letter to justice Karnan calling him a “lunatic”, wondering if he was “mentally sound to discharge his duties as a judge” and asking him to pray for pardon for every “stupid action” he has so far indulged in.

(This article is written with the help of LiveLaw)

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