The Chennai police on Wednesday arrested C S Karnan, former judge of Madras and Calcutta High Courts, over his online videos abusing judges and issuing rape threats to the wives of judges.
The Central Crime Branch of Chennai took the ex-judge into custody.
Yesterday, the Madras High Court had directed the Director General of Police and Chennai Police Commissioner to personally appear before it on December 7 to apprise the bench of the progress of the probe against Karnan.
Earlier, the Court had asked the Commissioner of Police, Chennai to handle the investigation of the case against Karnan and directed the DGP to supervise the same.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu against the retired High Court Judge for passing rape threats and sexually coloured remarks against wives of judges, women lawyers and female court staff. The Council had sought registration of FIR/ initiation of appropriate proceedings against such “unfortunate utterances”.
The Tamil Nadu Police in its counter affidavit had told the Court that two rounds of interrogation have been conducted with the accused.
Referring to this counter affidavit, the Bar Council informed the Court that the former Judge had admitted to the commission of the alleged offence during the course of interrogation and yet, further steps were not taken to arrest him.
The Council alleged that a second notice for appearance under Section 41-A CrPC was issued to the former Judge, whereas otherwise this provision is only “selectively resorted to”.
In this backdrop, the Council submitted that the investigation so far carried out by the Investigating Officer is only an eyewash and in the light of the lackadaisical and disinterested attitude exhibited, a Special Investigation Team consisting of efficient officers be constituted, to oversee the investigation. It was following this that the bench called for the personal presence of the Commissioner and DGP on December 7.
On November 10, the High Court had ordered the blocking of the objectionable video links. Taking strong exception to the “tirades” of the ex-judge, a division bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and R Hemalatha said:
“It is rather unfortunate to note that the ninth respondent (Karnan), who held an important constitutional post, has gone to such a level to repeatedly make scandalous, obscene, vituperative & unparliamentary remarks against former & sitting judges of SC & HC and their family members, especially women.”
The abusive videos of Karnan surfaced online in October, following which a group of women lawyers of Madras High Court submitted a complaint before the Chief Justice of India seeking action against Karnan.
Last month, the Supreme Court had termed Karnan’s attempt to barge into the house of Justice R Banumathi, retired SC judge, as ‘unfortunate’.
“Whatever has happened is unfortunate. You should take all appropriate actions, including filing representation and complaint,” a bench led by Justice AM Khanwilkar observed while issuing notice in a petition filed by Delhi Tamil Advocates Association seeking action against Karnan for his conduct.
In May 2017, C S Karnan became the first sitting High Court judge to be held guilty of criminal contempt of court. A constitution bench of the Supreme Court sentenced him to six months imprisonment for his multiple acts of public utterances against judges and interference with the administration of justice. As a judge, Karnan had also extraordinary acts like passing a judicial order to stay his own transfer and issuing arrest warrant against Supreme Court judges.
After the sentence, he went into hiding. He was arrested a month later and was sent to Presidency Jail in Kolkata, where he underwent imprisonment till December 2017