West Bengal and Tamil Nadu police officials, deployed to arrest Calcutta High Court judge CS Karnan, who was held guilty of contempt of court, failed to find him in Chennai on Wednesday. Unidentified police officials said the team then travelled to Andhra Pradesh based on information that Karnan had moved on to Srikalahasti.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court had held Karnan guilty of contempt of court and sentenced him to six months in prison. However, Karnan on Thursday moved the Supreme Court seeking relief in the matter, ANI reported.
Officials said Karnan had left his accommodation at a state guesthouse in Chennai without clearing the bill hours after the apex court announced its order.
There is now speculation that Karnan plans on seeking President Pranab Mukherjee’s intervention in the case. He is the first judge to have been issued an imprisonment order by the Supreme Court, NDTV reported. Karnan’s lawyer told The Times of India that a police team of around 50 personnel met him seeking information about the controversial judge’s whereabouts. On Wednesday, a group of advocates staged a protest against what they described as the “victimisation of Karnan”, The Indian Express reported.
The tussle between Karnan and his colleagues has been going on for months now. While the Calcutta High Court judge has accused several judges in High Courts and the Supreme Court of discriminating against him because he is a Dalit, the top court had ordered a medical test to be conducted on him to ascertain if he was mentally sound. He will retire in June.
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.