The Delhi High Court today asked the Centre to place on record all the orders passed by the Supreme Court in the contempt case against the jailed ex- Calcutta HC judge C S Karnan who has challenged the constitutionality of the Contempt of Courts Act.
A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar, however, refused to issue notice saying, “We have to be satisfied first that there is a case for issuance of notice.”
It asked the central government’s lawyer Gaurang Kanth to also place on record the apex court rules that said only an advocate-on-record could file petitions in the Supreme Court and listed the matter for hearing on August 8.
While advocate Mathews J Nedumpara was arguing for the retired judge, the bench disagreed with his submissions, saying that he was “misquoting” the apex court verdict.
The court’s remarks came when he said that there was a apex court judgement which permitted a Supreme Court order to be challenged before a high court.
His submission that one of the apex court orders of February 8, 2017 in the contempt case against Karnan was not served upon the judge also did not go well with the bench which said that the lawyer was arguing “contrary” to the petition which said the February 8 order was served on the ex- judge.
“Statement after statement by you we are finding are false. If you make any more false statements, we will take it seriously. It can invite contempt action against you. Keep in mind that you are representing a retired judge of a high court,” the bench said to Nedumpara.
The lawyer, thereafter, argued that the order of May 9 against Karnan holding him guilty of contempt of the apex court was a “nullity” in law as it was passed “without jurisdiction” and “authority of the law”.
The apex court by its May 9 order had also sentenced Karnan to six months in jail.
Nedumpara said the judge was appointed by the President and could only be removed by Parliament.
However, the May 9 order by a seven-judge apex court bench headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar “resulted in his (Karnan) removal from office for all practical purposes”, the lawyer argued.
He said that the issues raised in the petition required consideration and therefore, notice be issued inviting the reply of the other side.
The bench, however, disagreed with this argument and said, “You have not stated anything for issuance of notice.”.
Apart from challenging the constitutionality of the Contempt of Courts Act, the plea has sought a declaration from the high court that the apex court’s May 9 order and further proceedings under it were “unconstitutional and void” as principles of natural justice were allegedly not followed.
The plea has also challenged certain rules of the apex court which required that petitions in the Supreme Court be only filed through an advocate-on-record.
( Source – PTI )