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Supreme Court Allows Madras HC Judge Justice CS Karnan To Argue His Own Transfer Case

He is the first serving High Court judge to do so.

09/01/2017 8:44 PM IST | Updated 09/01/2017 8:59 PM IST
Tsering Topgyal/AP

NEW DELHI -- The Supreme Court has allowed controversial judge Justice C S Karnan of Calcutta High Court to argue a case relating to his own transfer from the Madras High Court, making him possibly the first serving high court judge to do so.

A bench of Justices Arun Mishra and Amitava Roy also allowed the application for discharge of Justice Karnan's advocate S Gowthaman after taking note of the judge's 21 December, 2016, letter written to Supreme Court Registry seeking permission to argue his own case.

"No counter affidavit has been filed on behalf of Justice Karnan. However, a communication dated 21 December, 2016 has been received from Justice Karnan intimating that he has decided to appear in person in this case and has requested S Gowthaman, Advocate-on-Record, who was appearing on his behalf, to withdraw his appearance.

"Interim application, filed by Gowthaman, for discharge as the counsel for Justice Karnan is, accordingly, allowed," the bench said in its order.

Meanwhile, the Registrar General of the Madras High Court through senior counsel K K Venugopal, pointed out that 12 files of the High Court were still with Justice Karnan, which are required to be returned.

He also submitted that the government accommodation which had been allotted to Justice Karnan at Chennai, has not been vacated as yet, adding that government accommodation was needed as 14 new judges have been appointed and a judge cannot keep it for more than a month after he ceases to be a Judge of the High Court of Tamil Nadu.

The apex court will now hear the matter on 13 February.

"Let intimation be given to Justice Karnan for the next date of hearing. List the matter on 13 February, 2017," the bench said.

Justice Karnan had on 15 February, 2016 stayed his transfer order after the apex court had asked the Chief Justice of Madras High Court not to assign any judicial work to him.

The same day the apex court had suspended Justice Karnan's order and made it clear that all administrative and judicial orders passed by him after the issuance of proposal of his transfer from Madras High Court to Calcutta High Court shall remain stayed till further orders.

However, a week later, the judge had admitted that he had issued an "erroneous" order due to his "mental frustration resulting in the loss of his mental balance."

The apex court had passed the directions on an application moved by the Registrar of Madras High Court, seeking an order to restrain Justice Karnan from doing any judicial work.

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