Justice Karnan is the first High Court judge to be sentenced to jail by Supreme Court

Justice KarnanA seven-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court (SC), headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar, on 9 May 2017 sentenced Justice C S Karnan, the Calcutta High Court judge, to six months of imprisonment. Justice Karnan has been sentenced for imprisonment for repeated incidents of contempt of court. It is the first time that the Supreme Court has sent a high court judge to jail on charges of contempt. In addition, the bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, prohibited media, both print and electronic, from publishing any further orders if any passed by Justice Karnan.

The Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, in February 2017 issued a contempt notice to Justice C S Karnan. Justice Karnan was accused of contempt after he named 20 “corrupt judges” of India earlier in 2017 and sought an investigation alleging corruption in the judiciary. He also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging an inquiry. On 1 March 2017, the SC ordered the Calcutta government hospital to constitute a medical board to examine the medical condition of Justice Karnan and submit a report to the court.

However, Justice Karnan refused to undergo medical tests in compliance with courts’ orders. He even turned away a team of psychiatrists who had arrived along with the police for a medical examination ordered by the apex court. Instead, he sentenced eight judges of the Supreme Court to five years of “rigorous imprisonment” and imposed a fine of Rs 100000 each under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act of 1989 and the amended Act of 2015.

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