The Supreme Court today ordered the medical examination of Calcutta High Court judge Justice C S Karnan on May 4 by a board of doctors, to be set up by a government hospital in Kolkata. A seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar also directed the Director General of Police of West Bengal to form a team of police officers which could assist the medical board in carrying out the medical examination on Justice Karnan. The bench, while referring to its earlier order by which it had restrained Justice Karnan from exercising administrative and Judicial power, directed all the courts, tribunal and commissions across the country not to consider and act on the orders passed by him after February 8.
The bench also asked the judge to file his response to the contempt notice and made it clear that if no response was filed by May 8, then it would be presumed that “he does not have anything to say”. The bench, which also comprised Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, has sought the medical report on or before May 8 and posted the contempt petition against Justice Karnan a day after.
Earlier, Justices Karnan had appeared before the apex court and sought restoration of his judicial and administrative powers. As the court refused to modify its earlier order, Justice Karnan had made clear that he will not appear before the court again. The apex court has taken suo motu (on its own) cognisance of various letters written by Justice Karnan against judges of the Madras high court and the Supreme Court. Justice Karnan had on March 31 appeared before the apex court which had granted him four weeks to respond to the contempt notice while rejecting the submission that his administrative and judicial powers be restored.
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The seven-judge bench took note of personal appearance of Justice Karnan, a first in the history of Indian judiciary, and asked him to respond to the allegations leveled against various judges in his several communications. The bench had asked Justice Karnan whether he was willing to tender an unconditional apology and withdraw his earlier communications. It had gone to the extent of suggesting to Justice Karnan, who had defiantly refused to appear before the bench despite summons, that he may file some medical records pertaining to his mental condition.
Justice Karnan, in his response, had alleged discrimination and “social boycott” by companion judges on various grounds including his caste and alleged that even the Supreme Court had issued the contempt notice and taken away his administrative and judicial rights, without giving him a hearing.