In an unprecedented order, the Supreme Court on Friday issued an arrest warrant against serving Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan to ensure his presence before it on March 31 in a contempt case.
“There is no other alternative to seek presence of Shri Justice C S Karnan. We issue bailable warrants of the sum of Rs 10,000 in the nature of personal bond to the satisfaction of the arresting officer,” a seven-judge bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar said.
The bench directed the West Bengal Director General of Police to personally execute the arrest warrant on Justice Karnan to ensure his presence before it on March 31, the next date of hearing.
The bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, refused to consider a communication, written to apex court registry on March 8, as his response to the notice issued against him earlier.
At the outset, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi said that Justice Karnan had defied the Supreme Court order and the apex court rules on contempt provide for issuance of bailable warrants against a contemnor to ensure his presence.
Justice Karnan was on February 8 directed to show up in court to respond to a contempt notice, issued by a suo motu proceeding for writing letters, in which he levelled corruption charges against several sitting and retired judges.
Earlier in February, the seven-judge bench led by Chief Justice JS Khehar was mulling various options under the law. The court had said that it would give Justice Karnan adequate time to prepare his reply to the showcause notice under the Contempt of Courts Act and present his case.