I am a stable person – Justice Karnan

By Rabi Banerjee | From issue dated May 21, 2017

Why did you write to the prime minister about the alleged corruption among judges?

As per the Indian Constitution, the judiciary is the highest body. The Central and state governments, assemblies, Parliament, bureaucrats, politicians or the general public cannot interfere with the judiciary. That’s why the judiciary is functioning as an autocratic establishment. However, the trouble is that there are no improvements, no comments, no initiatives or no opposition.

But why did you write to the PM?

I lodged the complaint with the prime minister against 20 judges of the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court. I have alleged that those 20 judges are corrupt. I made a request to the honourable prime minister to conduct a comprehensive inquiry with the help of a top officer from the CBI, one from the revenue intelligence, one from the enforcement wing and one from the National Investigation Agency. I also mentioned ten witnesses, who are mediators and brokers to the corrupt judges, for the illegal transaction of money. They misused judicial and administrative power.

Who are they?

The star witnesses are one Mr B. Hari, private secretary to the chief justice of the Madras High Court and Mr R. Kannapan, now registrar-cum-administrator of the Madras High Court. Kannapan was given double promotion by the then chief justice of the High Court since he had been maintaining confidentiality and has been very sincere with him regarding illegal transactions. Both witnesses should be interrogated by the aforesaid top officers. All culprits who are responsible for siphoning off money need third-degree treatment.

Third-degree? Is it permissible under law?

The law does not permit the third-degree method. But in this case, it is necessary in order to recover about Rs 10 lakh crore.

Where is the money?

It is invested not only in India but also in foreign countries through the international hawala system. Knowing this crucial situation, seven judges of the Supreme Court, in order to protect the 20 corrupt judges, including themselves, issued a suo motu contempt procedure against me, which is out of law and out of jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.

Why didn’t you lodge your complaint with the Chief Justice of India?

I have lost confidence in the present Supreme Court judges. The order on February 8, 2017 by the seven judges, snatching away my administrative power, shows non-application of mind and not following the proper procedure of law. It is not suitable for execution. The seven judges continuously passed erroneous orders against me in order to harass me. They even sent the West Bengal director general of police to me twice to make me comply with their order. They also ordered my medical examination to determine my mental stability. To determine my mental stability and that of the seven judges, a comparison of their judicial orders and mine should be made. After that, one would know who requires medical treatment.

Why did the seven judges oppose you?

They must have their own share of interest. Therefore, they adopted the shortcut method to quash my complaint.

You run the risk of impeachment.

I challenge the Supreme Court judges to push my case of impeachment to Parliament immediately. I am ready to face the lawmakers. But I am sure they would not do it as they would be exposed.

Are you not afraid of impeachment?

I am waiting for that. I requested then chief justice of India H.L. Dattu to send me to Parliament with Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul [former chief justice of the Madras High Court and now a judge of the Supreme Court], who is one of the accused persons, according to me. I made the same request to chief justice T.S. Thakur. But none of them accepted my prayer. So what can I do?

Why do you confine yourself to corruption in the judiciary?

During my practice as an advocate, I learned about so many irregularities among judicial officers and I was not happy. After my elevation as a judge, I noticed that most of the judges of the Madras High Court were worse than criminals. I was upset about their illegal activities, corruption, forgery, custodial rape and caste discrimination.

Is there a nexus between the political establishment and the judiciary?

I will confine myself to the judiciary where I have worked for 32 years. I levelled several complaints from 2011 about the mode of selection of High Court judges, district judges, senior and junior divisional judges and their promotions.

Did you face any threats for raising your voice against corruption?

Since the judiciary is for the general public, I am disclosing the irregularities to them. Besides, the salary, facilities and perks of the judges are given out of public money. I am not bothered about who said what. I am not bothered about judge’s quality, but I am bothered about the welfare of the general public. So I raised my voice. I am a whistleblower. If any person—be it from the general public, from the legislature or from the executive—discloses corruption by the judges, they would be put in jail. But in my case, the situation is not applicable as I am holding a constitutional office. My fight will continue till June 11, 2017, when I retire. Thereafter, the legal fight will cease as I will lose my legal weapons.

After retirement, what are you going to do?

I want to start a judicial academy in Tamil Nadu. Poor people could not make a mark because of poor English. I want to give them training so that they could become good lawyers and judges.

Have you met any BJP leaders?

Even though I am a Hindu, two months ago I made a representation to the Supreme Court to give adequate representation to minorities like Muslims, Christians, the most backward and the de-notified for appointment as judges to various high courts. I am free-minded about religion, caste, race and creed. During my tenure, I have rendered quality judgments to litigants without any ill-will or favour. I have no intention to join any political party or to involve in any political activity. Because, the president, vice president, governors, ambassadors and judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts, should not involve in politics after their tenures are over. This is to maintain ethics.

Is it proper to attack judges of the Supreme Court?

They are the wrongdoers. By attacking them, I am doing nothing wrong.

Can the Supreme Court issue contempt notice to a High Court judge?

No, they cannot. Their order is completely wrong.

Can you overrule the Supreme Court?

Under the Constitution, the powers are granted to the Supreme Court under Article 32. Similar powers are given to the High Courts under Article 226. So, the Supreme Court and the High Courts are equal. It is a constitutional logjam. The Supreme Court judges cannot issue such orders against me. It is illegal and immoral.

What was your reaction when the Supreme Court ordered your mental examination?

I am a stable person. I was not shocked. I am a highly educated, cultured and civilised person. I have seen several bad situations in my life. So, if any kind of harsh situation arises in my life again, I won’t be afraid. I have no fear to oppose the Supreme Court judges.

Are you against the Supreme Court or only a few judges?

I am against only seven judges. I respect the Supreme Court.

This interview was conducted on May 4 and 5 and has been edited for clarity.

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