Calcutta High Court’s Justice CS Karnan on Monday “sentenced” Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and seven other Supreme Court judges to five years of rigorous imprisonment and fined them Rs 1 lakh each for violating the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Karnan, who faces contempt charges, has been accusing the top court judges of discriminating against him for being from the Dalit community.
In his order, which directs the Delhi Police commissioner to take action, he says that “the judges had shown caste discrimination and hence had no locus standi to continue as Supreme Court judges”. It also directs them to pay the fine within a week to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, failing which they will have to serve an extra six-month sentence. The order said the “accused are at liberty to approach Parliament”, according to Hindustan Times.
Justice Karnan was issued a contempt notice on February 9 for degrading the judiciary and making allegations of corruption against Supreme Court judges. The SC bench had rejected his demand to be allowed to discharge his judicial duties, holding that the 61-year-old High Court judge was not in a clear state of mind. It had issued a bailable warrant against him on March 10.
The order also notes that the judges have yet to pay him the Rs 14 crore he had demanded on March 16 as compensation for “disturbing his mind and normal life”. He has asked the registrar general of the Supreme Court to recover the amount from the salaries of “each of the accused”.
The controversial judge had issued non-bailable warrants against the judges last Tuesday for not appearing before him as ordered earlier. He had summoned them to his “residential court” on April 13, alleging that they had insulted him in open court when they had questioned his mental health during a hearing on March 31.
On May 1, the Supreme Court bench, which had issued Karnan a contempt notice on February 8, had ordered the Calcutta High Court justice to undergo medical tests to check his psychological condition, but the judge had refused to do so on May 4.
Besides Chief Justice Khehar, the other judges named in Karnan’s order are justices Dipak Mishra, Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph, Madan B Lokur, J Chelameswar, R Banumathi and Pinaki Chandra Ghose. However, Justice Banumathi is not part of the bench that had issued the contempt notice against Karnan.