SC says warrant against Justice Karnan to be served 'personally'

In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Court today issued a warrant against a high court judge, Justice C S Karnan of the Calcutta High Court, for not appearing in a contempt case. Justice Karnan must be served a warrant by the West Bengal police chief "personally" and produced on 31 March, the top court directed.

A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar will take up the contempt case against Justice Karnan for alleged misconduct. The 62-year-old judge wrote letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a few others alleging corruption among former and current judges in the country.

The Supreme Court will also take up a petition by the wife of a Madras High Court judge who has accused Justice Karnan of harassing their family and making false allegations against her husband.

Justice Karnan was asked to appear in court in February, the first time in judicial history that a high court judge has been issued a contempt notice. The top court stripped the judge of his judicial and administrative work and also transferred him from the Madras High Court to the high court in Bengal.

Instead of appearing in court, Justice Karnan wrote to the judges alleging that he was targeted because he is a Dalit. He also "stayed" or put on hold his own transfer order.

Justice Karnan was transferred to Calcutta High Court from the Madras High Court after the Chief Justice received complaints from judges. As many as 21judges signed a petition against Justice Karnan.

The judge has over the years alleged caste bias against him and is known for his frequent conflicts with fellow judges.