In an unprecedented move, Calcutta High Court Judge CS Karnan on Thursday passed a suo-moto order against Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and six other Supreme Court judges, 'directing' them to appear before him on April 28.
Justice Karnan is facing contempt proceedings for making allegations of corruption against judges of Madras High Court as well as the Supreme Court.
He was asked to appear before the top court on March 31, an order he defied.
The top court had issued bailable arrest warrant against him on March 10 while ordering him to ensure his presence before it on March 31 in a contempt case.
Justice Karnan, a sitting High Court judge who has been stripped of his powers by the apex court, today “ruled” that seven Supreme Court judges - Chief Justice J S Khehar along with Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Kurian Joseph were "offenders" under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act and “should not be permitted to travel outside of India.”
The seven judges had issued a suo motu contempt order against Karnan in February after he had in January named 20 "corrupt judges", seeking probe against them to curb "high corruption" in the Indian judiciary.
Karnan said that the judges “jointly insulted me in the Open Apex Court.”
He has also directed the seven judges to surrender their passports before the “Director General of Police, New Delhi within a period of 15 days from the date of the receipt of the order.”
In his “order,” copy of which is to be sent to the President and the Prime Minister of India, Karnan directed all the seven judges to appear before him at his "Rosedale Residential Court" for the next hearing of the case on April 28 to give their views regarding the "quantum of punishment for the violation of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Atrocities Act."
"...I am directing the Hon'ble seven judges to give your replies in person or through your council (Counsel) regarding declaration of guilt and quantum of punishment by 28.04.2017 at 11.30 a.m. at my residence which has now become my make-shift court at Rosedale, New Town, Kolkata," Karnan said in his purported order:
Karnan held a press conference to give details of this to the media.
He said he had "pronounced a judgement wherein the seven judges are accused under the Scheduled Caste and Schedule Tribes Atrocities Act, 1989." He said the justices had "committed heinous crime."
The Supreme Court, while issuing Justice Karnan a contempt notice, had said he would not discharge any judicial and administrative functions during the pendency of the proceedings. Justice Karnan said the order against him was passed "without following due procedure of law while violating the Principle of Natural Justice..."
In furtherance of his so-called order, Karnan said, "The Hon'ble seven judges... are not permitted to move any court against this Court's order since the first accused namely the CJI (Chief Justice of India) is controlling all courts in India."
Asked whether Justice Karnan, as a sitting judge of Calcutta High Court, had the jurisdiction to pass such an order against the apex court judges, he said: "Their jurisdiction and my jurisdiction are different."
Karnan said while appearing before the Supreme Court bench in relation to the contempt notice, he had sought some clarification from the seven judge bench.
"What relief they are seeking against me. They did not answer," he added.
The Supreme Court had initiated contempt proceedings against Justice Karnan, after he wrote to the Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister's Office, the Union Law Ministry and others levelling corruption charges against the chief justice of Madras High Court.
Later on, the top court issued a bailable warrant against Justice Karnan earlier this month to ensure his presence in the court on March 31.
Subsequently, Justice Karnan appeared before the apex court on March 31. The seven justices gave the Calcutta High Court judge four weeks' time to either tender an unconditional apology or provide in writing his stance on the matter. Even as he presented himself before the Supreme Court justices, Karnan told them that he would not respond to the notice.
They had also asked him if he was mentally fit.
Justice Karnan later told media persons that he would pass an order against the seven-judge SC bench hearing his case.
Karnan is required to be present before the apex court justices by the end of the month.