KOLKATA: Former Calcutta High Court judge Chinnaswamy Swaminathan Karnan was released from Presidency Prison here on Wednesday after serving a six-month jail term awarded by Supreme Court after being found guilty of contempt of court.
Sources revealed that Karnan headed straight to his apartment in New Town in the northeastern fringes of the city after his release. He was visibly jubilant after leaving the prison premises. His wife Saraswati Karnan came here on Tuesday evening to take her husband back to Chennai.
The former judge was arrested from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu on June 20 after 43 days of a manhunt and was lodged in Presidency Jail on June 21. He thus earned the dubious distinction of being the first sitting High Court judge to be jailed.
Karnan had been evading arrest ordered by a seven-judge Supreme Court bench headed by the then chief justice of India (CJI) Jagdish Singh Khehar on May 9 after he refused to undergo a psychiatric examination.
The Calcutta High Court judge accused the seven-judge Supreme Court bench of caste discrimination against him as he was a Dalit. He made history by issuing summons to CJI Khehar and the other six judges at his ‘residential court’ at his apartment. He also ordered West Bengal DGP to arrest the seven judges and ordered psychiatric tests on them.
Justice Karnan later ‘sentenced’ the seven Supreme Court judges guilty under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. He even wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi leveling charges of corruption against several acting and retired Supreme Court and High Court judges.
The ‘rebel’ judge
On Wednesday, Justice CK Karnan, the first High Court judge to be jailed, was released from the Presidency Jail in Kolkata. Here is a look at his 34-year-old career.
1983: Chinnaswamy Swaminathan Karnan enrolls in Bar Council of Tamil Nadu.
March 30, 2009: Justice C S Karnan appointed as Madras High Court judge.
2011: Karnan writes to National Commission for Scheduled Castes alleging discrimination by colleagues for being a Dalit.
Nov, 2015: Karnan accuses Madras High Court chief justice S K Kaul of harassment and belittlement.
Feb, 2016: Karnan transferred to Calcutta High Court.
Feb 15: Karnan stays his transfer order; Supreme Court suspends his stay order.
March 11: Justice Karnan takes charge as Calcutta HC judge.
Dec 21: Karnan pleads SC to allow him to argue his transfer case.
Jan 9, 2017: SC allows him to argue his transfer case.
Feb 8: Seven judge SC bench issues show cause notice to Karnan; takes suo motu cognisance of contempt of court.
Feb 13: Karnan fails to appear before SC bench.
March 10: SC issues a non-bailable warrant against Karnan.
May 1: SC directs medical exam of Karnan.
May 2: Karnan issues non-bailable warrants against seven judges; summons them.
May 8: Karnan ‘sentences’ CJI, 6 other judges to 5-year-RI finding them guilty under SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.
May 9: SC finds Justice Karnan guilty of contempt of court.
June 12: Justice Karnan retires.
June 20: WB police arrests Karnan from Coimbatore.