Madras HC asks digital platforms to remove derogatory video by former Justice Karnan

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The Madras High Court has directed digital platforms including YouTube, Google, Facebook and Twitter to remove the video by former Justice Karnan in which he made highly objectionable statements against High Court and Supreme Court judges and their family members. The Court also observed that the comments by the former justice were highly defamatory. In his video, Karnan also threatened sexual violence.

A video of former Justice Karnan had gone viral on social media. Following this, the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Bar Council went to the Madras High Court seeking criminal and legal action against him and also urged for interim directions to remove the video posted on many digital platforms.

On Tuesday, the case came up for hearing before the bench of Justices Sathyanarayanan and Hemalatha. In the petition, on behalf of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry Bar Council, Secretary Rajakumar said, "The present situation has warranted the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry to knock the doors of the temple of justice to initiate appropriate action against a unfortunate utterances of CS Karnan, who is involving himself in various criminal offences and that to judicial and legal system through social platforms uttering allegations with so many illegal videos with unethical unparliamentarily comments against the judiciary and its functioning.”

He also said, "I submit that the respondent was convicted under Contempt of Courts Act by Supreme Court and was sentenced for six months. After being convicted, the respondent is making false vague scandalizing remarks and threatening the judges in the pubic media which will have greater effect in disturbance of public confidence and faith over judiciary."

The counsel appearing for the petitioner, S Prabhakar said that he is unable to read the statement made by Karnan in open court and asked why the state government has not initiated action against the former judge.

The counsel also said that the former justice has entered the home of a retired Supreme Court judge and created ruckus, but action was yet to be taken on the complaint. He also told the High Court to intervene in the issue since the former justice was making remarks against women working in the court which is under violation of Prevention of Sexual Harassment at the Workplace Act.

The Bench taking note of the arguments observed that the comments by the former justice were ‘highly defamatory’. The Bench also said that former justice Karnan held an important position in the judiciary but he continues to make derogatory statement against the former justice, their families and women lawyers.

The bench also directed Tamil Nadu Home Affairs chief secretary SK Prabhakar, DGP, Police Commissioner, Cyber Cell Deputy Commissioner, former justice Karnan to file their responses and adjourned the case to December 16.