The drama played by the Justice Karnan having been convicted for 6 months imprisonment and suspension of judicial powers indicates that he is now standing in the shoes of a convict evading arrest.
The rumors floated by one of his lawyers that he may be in Nepal or Bangladesh etc while he is available to his lawyers to sign an affidavit in front of a Notary makes him a self declared fugitive from law.
There is a rumour that he may move the International Court of Justice to claim that injustice has been done to him like in the case of Mr Jadhav by Pakistan Military Court.
I donot see much difference in his conduct from that of Mr Vijay Mallya who is holed out in London. In fact, Mr Vijay Mallya appears to be in comparison a better gentleman than Mr Karnan because Mr Mallya is only fighting his financial charges and not denigrating the country and its democratic institutions which Karnan is trying to do.
What surprises me however is that many in the law community are standing in support of Mr Karnan for their own reasons. Most of these lawyers have a grudge against Judges in general and the Judges in Supreme Court in particular and find Mr Karnan a hero who has stood upto the mighty.
Their present wrath on the Supreme Court judges may be genuine because they feel that the Collegium system of appointment is not transparent, there is nepotism, there is corruption etc. Since Mr Karnan’s problems originated because of his complaints about his brother judges that they are corrupt, some of the lawyers think he is a crusader like Mr Arvind Kejriwal and deserves to be supported.
However, the statements that Indian Judiciary is corrupt is a generic statement similar to what we say about all politicians or all bureaucrats being corrupt. Such statements may be fine for a discussion in a party but not to be highlighted in the national and international media to further personal interests.
Besides some bad elements who may be present or perhaps are definitely present, Indian Judiciary still has some committed and principled Judges and it is uncharitable to carry individual grudges against some in the Judiciary to the entire community and dishearten even those who are honest and dedicated.
If the system of appointment of Judges is incorrect and not transparent, we have every right to fight for it. My lawyer friends should continue to fight for this cause.
But the same lawyers failed to support Modi’s Government when there was the difference between the Government and the then CJI because they had their own prejudices against Mr Modi which were more important to them than Judicial reform.
Today their prejudice for Karnan is making them take up cudgels for a person who is bent upon destroying the credibility of the Indian Judicial system.
This appears to me a hypocritical attitude.
Karnan is not fighting against the restoration of NJAC or some thing similar. He is only fighting what he calls as harassment of a “Dalit Judge”. He has in the past also raised the religion card Hindus Vs Muslims and Christians etc. He basically represents a corrupt mind that is dysfunctional to the society and will be detrimental to the society in the long run. If left unchecked he will divide the Judicial society on religion and caste basis and has to be checked before further damage can be done.
Mr Karnan has shown scant regard for the higher Court by passing his own Kangaroo Court order sentencing 7 Supreme Court judges to 5 years imprisonment without a trial while his lawyers cry injustice that he was himself sentenced by the Supreme Court without trial.
Besides, he is absconding like a common criminal and not surrendering before the Court.
We therefore have no reason to extend our support to Mr Karnan. He needs to be condemned as a person who is trying to denigrate the whole system of Judiciary in India and making our country a laughing stock in the eyes of the world.
The lawyers who have now filed a review petition before the Supreme Court for recall of the order have raised several legal issues including that the “Constitution” does not provide for dismissal of a High Court judge except by impeachment process and Supreme Court has no powers against High Court Judges except to decide on appeal of their decisions.
Their argument may indicate a lacuna in our Constitution that needs to be corrected. According to his detractors which include the Supreme Court judges themselves, Mr Karnan’s orders appear to be the decisions of a person who has lost his mental balance and hence does not fall under “Recognized Legal Contracts” let alone “Judicial Decisions”. Hence to defend them on “Constitutional Rights” is unjustified.
I donot see that it was the intention of the Constitution that a mentally unsound person could continue to occupy a Judicial position and exercise the constitutional privileges meant for the Chair.
If this indiscipline shown by Mr Karnan is not curbed, tomorrow we will have a judicial chaos in the Country with different High Court judges passing orders against brother judges and Supreme Court judges including orders to arrest them. It is better not to discuss the ugly consequences of such a possibility.
Mr Karnan and now his lawyers are giving a handle to Indian Anti Nationals to cock a snook at Indian Democracy.
If we dispassionately look at the developments of Mr Karnan Vs Supreme Court, it appears that Mr Karnan is fit to be declared as either
a) A person of unsound mind and hence all his actions are to be ignored or
b) A person who is an anti national who wants Indian Democratic reputation to be brought down in the eyes of the world
If the first presumption is taken, the review petition has to be dismissed forthwith.
If the second presumption is taken, the trial should be upgraded to a trial under other sections of IPC applicable to anti nationals and the appropriate punishments are considered.
If both the Supreme Court and the lawyers of Mr Karnan want a middle ground, the petition may be dismissed on the grounds that the signature of Mr Karnan on the affidavit needs to be attested by his personal appearance since there is a probability that it could be a forgery.
It may be taken up again if Mr Karnan surrenders and appears in person.
In the meantime the Notary who attested the signature could be summoned to testify if the signature is true and if so, why the Notary knowing fully well that the person swearing before him was a fugitive from law, did not inform the Police voluntarily.
If Supreme Court is lenient on Karnan because he was a “Judge”, then it would indicate that Supreme Court is discriminating between a common citizen and a past Judge. They will not be able to exercise authority in the case of Mr Vijay Mallya who may raise a defense that the Court is not consistent.