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SC issues bailable warrant against Justice CS Karnan for contempt

The Supreme Court on Friday issued a bailable warrant against Calcutta High Court judge Justice CS Karnan for his failure to appear before it in a contempt case.

The apex court also directed the West Bengal DGP to personally execute the warrant against Justice Karnan to ensure his appearance before it on March 31.

Justice Karnan will have to furnish a personal bond of Rs 10,000 to secure bail in the contempt case.

The SC also refused to consider Justice Karnan's letter as his reply to the contempt notice.

The Supreme Court was hearing the petition in regard to the contempt case against Justice C.S. Karnan who allegedly made slanderous attacks against his fellow judge of Madras High Court.

The wife of the Madras High Court judge had approached the top court seeking protection for her husband from the unsubstantiated charges levelled against them, as it was hurting their family's reputation.

On February 13, Justice Karnan had failed to appear in the Supreme Court, following which his deadline to personally appear before the apex court was extended to three weeks.

A seven-judge bench of the apex court led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) J.S. Khehar granted three weeks to Karnan to appear before the court and to reply to show cause notice issued by it.

At its previous hearing, the Supreme Court had directed Karnan to appear before the court in person in connection with suo motu contempt proceedings. But neither he nor his lawyer presented themselves before it on the date of the hearing.

This is the first time ever that a sitting High Court judge faces a contempt case.

Justice Karnan has been accused of circulation of disparaging letters against sitting High Court judges of the Madras High Court, and he has also allegedly written about Supreme Court judges in his letters to the Prime Minister's Office.

Asking Justice Karnan to appear in person, a seven-judge constitution bench, headed by CJI Khehar and six other judges had directed that Justice Karnan would not discharge any judicial and administrative functions during the pendency of the proceedings.