A bench of seven superior judges headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar has issued show cause notice to Calcutta High Court judge CS Karnan initiating suo moto criminal proceedings in a case relating to his own transfer from the Madras High Court on February 8.
Supreme Court has ordered Justice Karnan to appear in person before the Bench on February 13 to explain the SC why a contempt notice should not be issued to him.
In an unprecedented move, the apex court has also directed him to refrain from taking judicial and administrative proceedings.
The SC’s bench also comprises Justices Dipak Misra, J. Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B. Lokur, P.C. Ghose and Kurian Joseph with CJI Khehar.
HC Judge Karna has alleged that he was a victim of caste bias as he was a Dalit and had accused the Madras HC chief justice of harassing him.
Subsequently, when he was transferred, Karnan stayed the order of the SC, advising the CJI not to interfere in his jurisdiction, before relenting and accepting his transfer.
This is the first time that a constitutional court has initiated contempt of court proceedings against a judge of the SC or HC. There have been times when the CJI, after receiving inquiry reports against a sitting judge, has recommended to Parliament to initiate proceedings for the removal of the erring judge.