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SC to consider plea for suspension of Karnan's sentence

SC to consider plea for suspension of Karnan's sentence

Peter Ramesh Kumar also said that the Calcutta High Court judge may be out of the country.

The advocate showed the notorised papers of authorisation for filing the plea on behalf of the judge to the bench. Officials of the guest house feigned ignorance about the whereabouts of the judge who shocked the nation on Monday by sentencing the Chief Justice of India and the seven members of the SC Bench for five years' rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs1,00,000 each under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act 1989 and the Amended Act 2015.

On May 1, in response to the apex court ordering an examination of his "mental health", Justice Karnan asserted that he would issue a suo moto suspension order against West Bengal Director General of Police (DGP) if he forcefully conducted a medical checkup.

The team went to the Chennai guesthouse where Justice Karnan had checked in. Shortly afterwards a high-level team from West Bengal Police flew into the city to arrest and take him as the court had directed that he should be jailed in the Calcutta high court jurisdiction area.

The team then travelled to Andhra Pradesh but came back empty-handed.

To this, the CJI asked, "Where is Karnan?"

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The bench, which also comprised senior-most judges, Justices Dipak Misra, J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, M B Lokur, P C Ghose and Kurian Joseph, said it was satisfied that Justice Karnan be sentenced for six months in jail.

According to several media reports, Justice Karnan, who has become the first sitting judge to face jail, might have fled the country in a bid to evade his arrest; however, his lawyer claimed that he has not and was now in Chennai.

The accusations, which were not the first of their kind made by the controversial judge, met the ire of the Supreme Court nearly instantaneously, which launched contempt proceedings against Karnan for lowering the dignity of the Indian judiciary. The controversial judge was transferred from the Madras HC for his repeated allegations and tiffs with its chief justice and fellow judges. The apex court had earlier even asked the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court not to assign him any judicial work.

To add a further twist to this tale, Karnan is now known to have left Kolkata the morning of the Supreme Court's decision to send him to jail.

According to Article 217 of the Constitution, a judge can only be removed by an order of the President, after both Houses of Parliament vote for his/her removal on grounds of proven "misbehaviour" and "incapacity".

"The seven judges looking at my case are corrupt".

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