Chennai: The Madras high court rejected a plea requesting a direction to the president to consider the immediate release of Justice (retired) C.S. Karnan. Justice Karnan is currently serving a jail term in the Presidency prison, Kolkata in a contempt of court case.
On May 9, the Supreme Court had convicted Justice Karnan, a former judge of the Calcutta high court, under the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, sentencing him to six months imprisonment.
He retired from his post on June 9 and was arrested on June 20.
The bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice R. Hemalatha rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by A.P. Gowthama Sidharthan, managing director of Dr. Ambedkar Educational Foundation, New Delhi, for the release of Justice Karnan. In the plea, Sidharthan had claimed that Justice Karnan had been victimised for being a Dalit.
The judges said they did not find any reference in the petition to the circumstances which led to the incarceration of Justice Karnan, who had been a judge of the Madras high court before he was transferred to the Calcutta high court.
“No case has arisen within the jurisdiction of the Madras high court. Hence, the PIL is not maintainable and dismissed,” the bench said. At the time of arrest, Justice Karnan was not a judge of any high court. The respondents to the PIL are located in New Delhi, which means that the Madras high court does not have territorial jurisdiction in the matter, either.