Madras HC quashed CS Karnan’s defence of mental instability; rejects the bail plea

Umamageswari Maruthappan

The Madras High Court rejected the bail petition of former Judge C S Karnan. The Single-judge Bench of Justice V. Bharathidasan disallowed the contentions put forth by Karnan regarding his mental vulnerability and upheld that the ex-judge had committed the offence having full knowledge of its consequences.

A brief note on the findings of the Single Judge that guarded his decision towards quashing the bail plea:

1)    “The petitioner had made scandalous, obscene, very vulgar and vituperative statements against some former as well as sitting High Court and Supreme Court Judges and Lawyers including their family members.”

2)    “The sequence of the videos and the contents would prima facie show that the petitioner had done all such acts deliberately knowing fully well that what he was doing was wrong and contrary to law.”

3)    “The petitioner made such abusive utterances consciously and with a predetermined mind.”

4)    “Whenever the objectionable act of the petitioner was condemned by the well reasoned persons, he used to react quickly and start abusing them in vulgar language.”

5)    “The petitioner himself prepared all those abusive statements for recording the videos in question, which would clearly show that the petitioner made a thorough preparation before video graphing such abusive statements.”

6)    “The utterances made by him in the videos would prima facie indicate that all those statements were made in a clear state of mind and uploaded the same on social media platforms fully knowing the consequences of his action and also the nature of the act he was doing.”

7)    “Reportedly, the petitioner has floated a political party by name “Anti Corruption Dynamic Party” and he is the Founder President of the party and released an election manifesto on behalf of the party, for the forthcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections simultaneously. All those materials would prima facie establish that the petitioner was and is not having any physical or mental ailments which rendered his intellect weak.”

With the above observations, the Madras High Court rejected to grant bail to Karnan. It further observed that the former judge was insincere in his apology. 

the petitioner is not serious/willing to tender an apology for the acts done by him. Even though the wife and the son of the petitioner have filed affidavit and tendered unconditional apology on behalf of the petitioner, the same cannot be accepted in the absence of any such affidavit from the petitioner, genuinely regretting for the acts done by him. The learned senior counsel for the petitioner also assertively stated that the petitioner is not willing to file any such affidavit tendering apology,” the Judge noted.

On 26th October 2020, the first petition contending the actions of CS Karnan was filed by Adv. Devika. Following that, a sequence of complaints was registered including that from the Tamil Nadu State Bar Association and consequently, the ex-judge was arrested on 2nd December 2020. The present petition was filed by him requesting his release on bail.

Karnan had shared abusive videos online criticising former and sitting judges, lawyers and advocates of the High Court and Supreme Court. He had also targeted women practitioners including the family members of male professionals.

Despite the pouring complaints, the former judge went ahead to share obscene videos through different profiles. The petitioner, however, pleaded that he was mentally unstable.

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