The letter signed by more than 10 lawyers, including senior advocates R Vaigai, Sudha Ramalingam, Geeta Ramaseshan and D Nagasila, alleged that Justice Karnan is heard making objectionable remarks in the video, threatening to sexually assault the wives of 13 present and former Supreme Court judges, and a retired woman judge of the Supreme Court.
The letter further pointed out that the retired judge names several women court staff, a lawyer and others, with their designation, alleging that they were sexually abused by Supreme Court and High Court judges, leaving no room for doubt about the identity of the alleged victims, an act prohibited by law.
“These statements by a former High Court judge amount to a horrific act of violence and an affront to the dignity of all women. His statements reveal a deep-rooted misogyny and is an assertion of patriarchal construction of gender and sexuality, where women are considered as private property of men,” the letter said. It added that Justice Karnan cannot claim any licence to denigrate women and commit offences against them merely because he belongs to the Scheduled Caste, who otherwise have Constitutional protection. Seeking action against Justice Karnan and also those circulating the video on WhatsApp and other social media, the letter said the video should be taken down and the person behind it should be identified. The issue should be dealt with firmly and stringent action, including criminal prosecution, should be taken against the retired judge, the women lawyers added.
The letter also held that the present sorry state of affairs was a direct consequence of the opaque nature of judicial appointments and lack of accountability, and called for reforms in judicial appointments. A few days ago, he was accused of barging into an apartment complex along with a group of men and abusing the security guard who tried to stop them. Police sources said he was heading to the apartment owned by a retired woman judge of the apex court.
Justice Karnan was the first sitting judge to be jailed. He was arrested in June 2017 and imprisoned for six months on contempt of court charge for accusing 20 judges of corruption without offering any evidence.