12 Lawyers Said No To Justice Karnan, Scared Of You, Supreme Court Told

The lawyer who is representing Justice Karnan faced a contempt notice himself at the Mumbai High Court. He had walked out of the courtroom after behaving in way that the court found to be "most abusive" and "contemptuous".

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12 Lawyers Said No To Justice Karnan, Scared Of You, Supreme Court Told

Justice Karnan's lawyer has asked the Supreme Court to stay orders for his arrest.


NEW DELHI:  For the police of two states hoping to arrest him, Calcutta High Court judge CS Karnan has remained untraceable. But a lawyer who reached the Supreme Court to file a petition to seek recall of his six-month jail term on Thursday said he was in Chennai. On Tuesday, the court had held the judge guilty of contempt and sentenced him to six months in jail. Justice Karnan went missing soon after.

The lawyer, Mathews Nedumpara, told the top court that Justice Karnan had approached 12 lawyers to file a petition to seek a review of the court's verdict.

Chief Justice of India JS Khehar agreed to hear the petition after Mr Nedumpara told the court that the judge was in Chennai where he had signed the court documents, authorising him to represent him.

As for the other advocates approached by Justice Karnan, news agency IANS quoted Mr Nedumpara as saying "They all refused as they are very scared of you (SC Bench)".

Mr Nedumpara, who undertook to face the court, had faced a contempt notice himself two months ago. This was at the Mumbai High Court, where a two-judge bench recorded how he had walked out of the courtroom after behaving in  way that the court found to be "to say the least... most abusive, contemptuous, lowering the dignity of the court".

His was also one of the few voices in the legal community that called Justice Karnan a whistle-blower. In an opinion piece he wrote for a national daily, the advocate argued that the remedy to the controversy was not in silencing whistle-blowers but bringing in a credible mechanism to probe allegations of corruption in the judiciary.

As the lawyer for a group that he leads, National Lawyers Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms, Mr Nedumpara had asked the top court last December to cancel Justice JS Khehar's appointment as the Chief Justice of India. The argument was that he was on the bench that struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission and would be the biggest beneficiary of the decision. The lawyer wanted Justice Chelameswar to be elevated since he had criticised the opaqueness of the court's committee of senior judges that recommends appointments.

Just a few months earlier, another petition by the same group had alleged that there was nepotism in appointment of judges, prompting the court to respond: "We don't need a certificate from anyone on earth". The bench rejected the petition that wanted a "public body" for appointment of judges, independent of the executive and judiciary.

In November 2015, the lawyer was rebuked by Justice Khehar, then a judge, when he complained that the court was being cruel to him as he was not allowed to speak. "Don't take it too far. We have heard you. You wanted to come in press. You are done. We will have you removed from the court if you don't stop".

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