As the Vacation Bench of the Supreme Court comprising Justices D.Y.Chandrachud and Sanjay Kishan Kaul assembled at 10.30 AM today, Justice C.S.Karnan’s lawyer, Mathews J. Nedumpara, was waiting for his turn. As he began making his submission, Justice Chandrachud reminded him that he was sentenced to imprisonment by a seven-Judge bench, and that the present two-Judge bench could not suspend the sentence imposed by that bench, during the vacation.
To this, Nedumpara said nothing would happen before the Court reopens, if Justice Karnan is not imprisoned.
Justice Chandrachud quipped: “Seven-Judges bench binds us. We can’t possibly override it. You have to mention it before the Chief Justice.”
To this, Nedumpara submitted: “I am only asking suspension of sentence and grant of bail, till the court reopens. You have the jurisdiction to grant the prayer. I am not asking for substantive order”
Justice Chandrachud said: “Law and judicial discipline are against granting your prayer. Sorry”.
Nedumpara persisted saying it is not unusual for a bench of smaller size to grant interim relief to an accused, if the larger bench which delivered the original order, is not in a position to assemble immediately, and if the grounds cited by the accused seeking such relief are prima facie valid.
The bench, which showed no inclination to answer this, moved on to the next item.