Justice Karnan of Calcutta high court earns distinction of being the first judge of a high court to retire while absconding

Justice Karnan of Calcutta high court earns distinction of being the first judge of a high court to retire while absconding

CHENNAI,June12: Today, Justice C S Karnan of the Calcutta high court will earn another dubious distinction of being the first judge of a high court to retire while absconding.

Born on June 12, 1955, the judge is facing arrest and has been absconding since May 9 when a seven judge bench of the Supreme Court passed an unprecedented arrest order against a constitutional court judge.

Though he arrived in Chennai early on May 9 and was seen chatting with his visitors and journalists at the state guest house till a couple of hours after the apex court’s arrest order, he went underground soon after, without the knowledge of his personal security and protocol officials.

In order to execute the Supreme Court directive, a team of the West Bengal police led by a director-general of police-rank officer has been camping in Chennai since May 10, but in vain.

The team took Tamil Nadu police help to visit various places, including Kalahasti in Andhra Pradesh, but they could not locate the judge. As on date, the apex court’s order of arrest of Justice Karnan, therefore, remains unexecuted.
He became a judge in March 2009, and Monday will be the last day of his office as a judge.

Retirement of a high court judge is an august function, where he gets an opportunity to recall his feat during his innings as a member of the bench in a constitutional court, and the speech he delivers is recorded and included in the respective court’s history for posterity. Justice Karnan will miss that opportunity. He won’t get a formal farewell as he is facing arrest ordered by the Supreme Court.
Justice Karnan became the first judge of a high court to move the National Commission for SCs and STs, complaining harassment by his colleague-judges. He was the first judge to barge into the court hall of another division bench (of the Madras high court) while it was hearing a case and declare that he too would be a litigant opposing choice of certain names of advocates for elevation as judges of the court.

He was the first to face the Supreme Court wrath and earn an order directing him to undergo psychiatric analysis for mental stability. He is, of course, first to be ordered arrested while holding the constitutional office of a high court judge.

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