NEW DELHI:Former Calcutta High Court judge CS Karnan must serve six months in jail, the Supreme Court said today, refusing his request to suspend the sentence given to him by the top court in May. Justice (retired) Karnan was arrested in Tamil Nadu last night. He had gone underground a month ago to dodge arrest and has claimed that he is being persecuted because he is a Dalit.
His lawyer sought bail in the Supreme Court today but was refused. After he lands in Kolkata today, escorted by senior Bengal police officers, he will be taken to the city’s Presidency Jail.
The Supreme Court, which has banned the press from reporting his remarks, ordered him to jail early in May after declaring him guilty of contempt of court. The 62-year-old became the first serving High Court judge to be sentenced to prison. His sentence was delivered by seven judges including Chief Justice of India JS Khehar.
While evading arrest, the former High Court judge’s term ended, and he used false names to hide in resorts and switched cellphones to avoid being tracked down.
Transferred last year from Chennai to Kolkata, Justice (retired) Karnan wrote in January to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Pranab Mukherjee accusing several senior judges of corruption.
In response, the Supreme Court ordered him to appear in person, He compiled once, then skipped other hearings.
What followed was unprecedented. For every order issued by the Supreme Court on his case, Justice (retired) Karnan passed a counter order, even, at one point, ordering the arrest of the top court’s judges. He also refused to undergo any mental health tests despite the Supreme Court’s instruction, saying “I am fine, I am normal.”