Madras HC judge 'stays' SC transfer order
In an unprecedented development in Indian judiciary, Madras High Court Judge, Justice C.S. Karnan stayed the Supreme Court order, transferring him to the Calcutta high court. He also directed the Chief Justice of India(CJI) to file a written statement through his subordinates explaining the reason for transferring him by 29 February 2016. Justice Karnan further told the CJI to not interfere with his jurisdiction.
Madras HC Judge CS Karnan threatened to file contempt of court proceedings against High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kaul accusing him of inteference in his work. He threatened to file a case against Kaul under the provisions of SC/ST Atrocities (Prevention) Act. Justice Karnan said that he was suo motu staying the administrative order of Chief Justice with regard to selection of civil judges.
Supreme Court stayed an interim order passed by Madras High Court judge Justice CS Karnan, allegedly undermining the authority of High Court Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul. This was in response to Madras High Court registry's appeal to stay the order.
Chief Justice of Madras High Court Sanjay Kaul requested Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu to transfer Justice C.S. Karnan of the same High Court. Justice Kaul wrote "there are serious complaints of impropriety and lack of integrity against Justice Karnan." He mentioned Karnan's "inability to get along with any of his colleagues, abusive language, threats held out by him to other judges, etc,.
In another instance in 2014, the former Chief Justice of Madras HC R.K. Agarawal in a letter to the CJI P.Sathasivam accused judge Karnan, of acts unbecoming the conduct of a judge and sought his transfer from the Madras High Court.
Justice CS Karnan wrote three separate letters to the CJI, where he made several allegations including a caste bias in the collegium system. In one of the letters, Karnan accused Madras HC Chief Justice Sanjay Kaul of 'harassment' and 'belittlement.' In another letter addressed to union law minister Sadananda Gowda, he attacked the collegium system and said that it should be rooted out.
The Supreme Court Collegium had recommended mass transfer of High Court judges who have been accused of corruption and misconduct. This is the toughest punishment the collegium can give, since judges can be removed only by Parliament thorough impeachment. The list includes CS Karnan, the controversial judge of the Madras High Court and judges from the High Courts of Delhi, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
The collegium system of appointment of judges is popularly referred to as judges-selecting-judges. Under this, the appointments and transfers of judges are decided by a forum of the Chief Justice of India and the four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
Supreme Court today ordered the Madras High Court Chief Justice to stop allotting judicial work to sitting Madras High Court judge, Justice C.S. Karnan. The action comes after Justice Karnan said he would fight his transfer to the Calcutta High Court. A bench of Justices J.S. Khehar and R. Banumathi had earlier in the day restrained Justice Karnan from passing any suo motu orders.