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Madras High Court Judiciary’s bias against Dalit judge creates a storm

Chennai, Nov 3 (): Following the complaint by Justice Karnan to the National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC) alleging that fellow judges were targeting and humiliating him in public for his independent way of dealing with petitions, a group of Dalit lawyers have taken up the matter with the Chief Justice.

Meanwhile the State Election Commission finds that around 60 posts of President in rural and semi rural areas which are in reserved class are lying vacant as there were no nominations from the Dalits.

Justice Karnan though did not openly state that his caste was the reason for being isolated but by giving the complaint to NCSC shows that his Dalit status was behind it. He alleged that a group of lawyers and judges met out of court to take a decision on various cases. He did not follow the practice and took his own route to come to a verdict. He was kept out of many functions organised by the Court. In public a judge humiliated him on two occasions. On many occasions group of lawyers in a drunken state abused him in the court premises.

A group of  dalit lawyers met the Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal of the Madras High Court along with two other judges and President of the two lawyers’ organisations.  The lawyers wanted the Chief Justice to restore the earlier portfolio held by Justice Karnan and look into the complaint and bring justice. The Chief Justice pointed out that the NCSC had forwarded it to the Chief Justice of Supreme Court and it was for the apex court to do the needful, adding that he was not aware of the caste of his fellow judges.

Heads of the lawyer association felt that the complaint should have been given to the Madras High Court Chief Justice and if not satisfied could have taken it up with the apex court and not to an outside body.

A report states that 59 wards most of them in reserved wards for Dalits did not receive nominations. Ariyalur and Ramanathapuram districts top the list and Coimbatore ward and Nammakal too go headless. The upper caste colluded with officials to create hurdles by insisting on certificates and quoting nonexistent rules to keep the Dalits from filing nominations in time and in some cases it was a plain threat from the upper caste community.

In Karkudi panchayat there were 299 ST members and in 2011 voters’ list there are only two out of the 1573 members. When the couple went to file the nomination they were slapped with land grab case and told to wait in VAO office till the Revenue Inspector conducted an inquiry and was finally let off.