CHENNAI: Justice C S Karnan, recently transferred from the Madras High Court to the Calcutta High Court, is being boycotted by lawyers there after he and Justice Roy, who shared a bench with him, argued with each other in the open court on the granting of bail to those accused in the Vivekananda Road Flyover collapse.
On Tuesday, Justice Karnan and his brother judge Ashim Kumar Roy differed over the granting of bail to 10 accused persons after earlier concurring to refuse them bail on May 20. Justice Karnan changed his mind and signed in favour of granting bail to the accused on Monday, 18 days after the bail prayers were refused by the division bench.
Justice Roy objected to Justice Karnan’s decision as they sat together in court as part of the division bench. Justice Karnan said after going through the papers relating to the case afresh in his chamber, he felt bail should be granted to the 10 accused. Arguments over the legality of the order of Justice Karnan followed with the judges leaving the court room and retiring to their respective chambers.
The bail prayers of the 10 accused are likely to be referred to the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court on whether it should be sent to a third judge owing to the disagreement.
Later, the Calcutta High Court Bar Association held an urgent general body meeting and decided not to attend the court of Justice Karnan. “We held a general body meeting wherein a majority decision was taken not to participate in any judicial proceedings before the court of Justice Karnan,” Bar Association General Secretary Suranjan Dasgupta said alleging “misbehaviour” by the judge.
Justice Karnan was in the news in 2011 after his complaint to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes alleging that he was being harassed and victimised by brother judges because he was a Dalit. In January 2014, he entered a division bench’s court hall and declared himself that he would file an affidavit in the case, which pertains to recommendations for the post judges in the Madras High Court.
He also hit the headlines when he passed an “erroneous order” due to “loss of mental balance” in which he stayed his own transfer to the Calcutta High Court.