In a suo motu contempt case for denigrating the judicial institution, a seven-judge of the Supreme Court, headed by chief justice JS Khehar, on Monday ordered the medical examination of Calcutta High Court judge Justice CS Karnan on May 4 by a board of doctors, to be set up by a government hospital in Kolkata. It also directed West Bengal DGP to depute police personnel to assist the medical board in carrying out the medical examination on Karnan, who has been defying contempt charges over allegations he had levelled against various retired SC judges and sitting Madras High Court judges.
The order was prompted by justice Karnan’s recent ‘purported judicial order’ directing the CJI and seven Supreme Court judges to appear before him on Monday (May 1), the day he was supposed to be present before it.
While referring to an earlier order restraining justice Karnan from exercising administrative and judicial power, the bench restrained all the courts, tribunal, commissions and inquiries across the country from considering and acting on the orders passed by him after February 8, the day he was restrained from undertaking any judicial and administrative work.
The bench also directed the medical board to submit its report on or before May 8, and posted the matter for further hearing on May 9. The judges said it was conscious of justice Karnan’s order against them and it only proved that he is not fit to defend himself in the contempt of court proceedings.
However, justice Karnan termed the SC order as “ridiculous and unusual.” “Am I mentally unstable? Who is the Supreme Court to judge that I have a mental illness? The seven judges looking at my case are corrupt,” he said in a press conference hours after the SC order. “If the DGP acts me without my consent, I will pass an order against him. He should stay within limits…I won’t submit to any treatment.”
“With their phenomenal behaviour, it is the seven judges who actually require medical examination,” Karnan said.
After the apex court had issued a bailable warrant against the Calcutta HC judge to ensure his presence in the Supreme Court, Justice Karnan had not only stayed the order but had also directed the CBI to investigate all the seven judges of the SC.
When he appeared in the SC in March, Justice Karnan had refused to respond to the contempt notice and later went on to “summon” all seven judges in a hearing that he held at his Kolkata residence. Last month, he ‘ordered’ the Chief Justice of India and six judges to appear before him to face proceedings for “wantonly and deliberately” insulting him during the March hearing.