Retired Justice C.S. Karnan, who is lodged in Presidency jail since June 21, has approached the West Bengal for release on parole. The Appeal was sent via email to the office of Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi on Saturday. Hard copy of the same will be submitted by Tuesday.
In the Appeal, Justice Karnan submits that the proceedings culminating into his conviction and sentence are without jurisdiction, as the correct procedure for his removal would have been through initiation of impeachment proceedings.
“If the manner in which he is removed from office remains unquestioned, tomorrow Judges and Chief Justices of High Courts or even Puisne Judges of the Supreme Court could be removed from their office by the Supreme Court, which will mean the fatal blow to the independence of judiciary,” the plea filed through Advocate Mathews J. Nedumpara states.
The orders, he averred, were passed without framing a charge, and without giving him an opportunity to defend himself. “Even a devil is entitled to a hearing, an advocatus diabolic,” the plea said. Justice Karnan further pointed out that a detailed judgment on his conviction and sentence is yet to be pronounced, despite the fact that Justice P.C. Ghose, one of the seven Judges who had convicted him, has since retired.
Thereafter, contending that his removal from the office is unconstitutional, Justice Karnan pleads, “The supremacy of the Parliament, the majesty of law and independence of judiciary are of paramount importance. The order dated 9th May, 2017 in the Applicant’s case is rendered at peril of these fundamental principles. Therefore, it is the sacred duty of your Excellency to pay its anxious consideration to the constitutional crisis, as aforesaid, and act in no loss of time to protect the majesty of law, independence of the judiciary and, above all, the supremacy of the Parliament in matters which fall within its exclusive domain.”
Justice Karnan was arrested by the West Bengal Police from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu on June 20, after having evaded arrest since May 9. This was in aftermath of an order passed on May 9, wherein the seven Judge SC Bench had sentenced him to 6 months in jail after finding him guilty of contempt of Court.
“On merits, we are of the considered view, that Sri Justice C.S. Karnan, has committed contempt of the judiciary. His actions constitute contempt of this Court, and of the judiciary of the gravest nature. Having found him guilty of committing contempt, we convict him accordingly. We are satisfied to punish him by sentencing him to imprisonment for six months. As a consequence, the contemnor shall not perform any administrative or judicial functions,” the seven Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice J.S. Khehar had then observed.