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SC refuses urgent hearing for Karnan bail plea

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

In a setback to former Kolkata High Court judge CS Karnan, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to accord urgent hearing on his plea seeking bail and recall of the previous order convicting him for contempt.

"Declined… We will not accept an oral request against the judgment," said a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud , when the counsel for Justice Karnan sought urgent listing of the petition saying "he has been put to grave injustice".

Mathews J Nedumpara, counsel for the former judge, said Justice Karnan has been in jail without a detailed judgment and moreover, one of the seven judges of the bench, which had convicted him, has already retired.

"You are habitually inclined to disrupt the proceedings of this court. You (counsel) say the same thing again and again. Declined," an apparently irked bench said.

On 21 June, a vacation bench of the apex court had refused to entertain the plea of the arrested ex-high court judge saying it "cannot override" the seven-judge bench order in the case.

Karnan, 62, who retired on 12 June as Calcutta High Court judge, was arrested on 20 June by the West Bengal CID in pursuance of the apex court's judgment awarding him a six-month jail term for contempt of court. He had been in Coimbatore since 9 May when the apex court held him guilty for contempt of court and sentenced him to six months imprisonment.

Karnan has the dubious distinction of being the first sitting high court judge to be awarded a jail term by the apex court and also the first to have retired as a fugitive.

A seven-judge bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar, had on 9 May directed the West Bengal director general of police to take the then serving judge into custody immediately.

Despite several attempts, Karnan has failed to get any relief from the apex court's vacation benches which have refused to hear his plea seeking a stay of the jail term order.