Justice Karnan found guilty of contempt of court, becomes 1st sitting judge to face jail

Justice Karnan had alleged that 8 Supreme Court judges have "jointly committed the offences punishable under the SC/ST Atrocities Act

For the first time in history, the Supreme Court sentenced a sitting judge to jail after it held Justice Karnan guilty of contempt of court. The Calcutta High Court judge will have to face six months in jail. Despite the orders of the apex court, Justice Karnan had on May 4 refused to undergo a mental health checkup. He had sent back the team which visited his house for his check up claiming that he is “absolutely normal” and has a “stable mind”.

A seven-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar on Tuesday said: “We are of the unanimous view that Justice CS Karnan committed contempt of court, contempt of judiciary and the process. The sentence shall be executed and he be taken into custody forthwith.”

The SC bench took the decision after Justice CS Karnan on Monday “sentenced” Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and seven other judges of the apex to rigorous imprisonment of five years. Claiming that the eight judges have committed caste discrimination, Justice Karnan said they “shall be punished under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled
Tribes Atrocities Act, 1989.”

Reacting to the verdict, Justice Karnan said that he will not surrender and will set aside the order adding that the SC has no “constitutional authority” to pass such an order against him. The SC has also asked the media to restrain from reporting on the orders passed by Justice Karnan.

This is the first time that a sitting high court judge will be imprisoned on charges of contempt.