HC grants bail to its former judge CS Karnan languishing in jail since Dec 2

10 criminal cases booked against him for abusing judges and their kin

The Madras High Court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to its former judge C.S. Karnan, who in jail since December 2, 2020 in connection with nine criminal cases booked for having reportedly circulated 33 videos on the social media abusing sitting as well as former judges, their spouses, lawyers, court staff and others using “vulgar, scandalous, vituperative and obscene” words.

Justice V. Bharathidasan granted bail to the former judge in the tenth case registered for having allegedly trespassed into the residence of a former Supreme Court judge in Chennai and threatening her daughter and son-in-law in filthy words. The relief was granted after the petitioner filed two affidavits tendering unconditional apology to all concerned and undertook not to repeat such behaviour in future.

He also gave an undertaking that he would not interfere in the investigation in any of the 10 cases and would not attempt to tamper the evidence or influence the witnesses. After recording the undertaking, Justice Bharathidasan made it clear that the bail would stand cancelled if any of the undertakings were violated. He directed the petitioner to refrain from issuing derogatory or abusive statements.

It was also made clear that the bail was being granted only considering the health condition of the petitioner, who had tested positive for COVID-19, after he was imprisoned and now required some medical attention. The judge also said that the previous bail applications filed by the petitioner in the same cases was dismissed since, then, he had not filed affidavits expressing unconditional apology for his acts.

The judge decided to grant the relief after senior counsel G. Rajagopal, representing the petitioner, pointed out that his client was already in prison for more than 110 days. Senior counsel S. Prabakaran, representing the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and Additional Public Prosecutor M. Prabhavathi had however opposed the plea for bail and contended that he does not deserve any leniency.

The APP told the court that the former judge had accused the police officers, investigating the cases against him, of having made casteist remarks. He had also lodged a complaint with a Metropolitan Magistrate accusing some police officers of having stolen jewels from his house. The prosecution also stated that the investigation in only one out of the 10 cases had been completed so far and therefore, he should not be let out on bail.

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