Justice Karnan Accuses CJI in Judges' Appointment Matter

Controversial Madras High Court Judge C S Karnan, who has termed as "unfair" the choice of 12 probables for appointment as judges of the court, today launched a direct attack on Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam, alleging he had "usurped" the powers of the collegium in deciding the names.

When contacted in Delhi, CJI said, "I am not aware of the development," and added, "No CJI can interfere in the affairs of the collegium".

In his additional written suggestions filed in the High Court on the PIL by a senior lawyer seeking withdrawal of the list of probables, Justice Karnan said certain issues have been raised in the petition.

He questioned why the CJI was taking keen interest in appointing judges to the Madras High Court where the vacancy percentage was below 20 per cent when it ranged from 30 per cent to 40 per cent in various other high courts.

Justice Karnan also referred to the Bar having raised questions on whether there was corruption in the selection of the prospective judges.

Justice Karnan, who created a flutter by walking into the court on January 9 during the hearing of the PIL, has drawn flak from the apex court for his action.

A division bench of the High Court comprising Justice V.Dhanapalan and Justice K K Sasidharan today adjourned the hearing of the petition filed by senior advocate R.Gandhi seeking withdrawal of the list recommended and sent by the court's Collegium.

Since the matter is now under the purview of the Supreme Court and taking into account its order passed on Janury 13, "We adjourn the matter sine die," they said.

The Supreme Court had stayed the Madras High Court order to maintain status quo on the process of appointing 12 judges, saying it is a "serious matter" which will be taken up by itself.

In a related development, two more advocates P.Rathinam and S.Duraisamy filed separate petitions with a prayer to recall the list, which were adjourned by the bench by four weeks.

Meanwhile, members of the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) today boycotted the court on the issue and raised slogans in the court halls.

A group of about 150 advocates staged a one-day fast pressing their demand for withdrawal of the list. A General Body meeting of the MHAA decided to continue the boycott tomorrow also.

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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