The Bar Council of India late on Thursday sharply reacted to Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde alleging impropriety by Justice N V Ramana, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court and next in line to be Chief Justice.
In a letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice S A Bobde, Bar Council of India chairman Manan Kumar Mishra condemned Jagan’s letter stating that it was a deliberate attempt to demean judges, the entire legal fraternity and the Constitution of India itself.
In the letter, dated October 6, Jagan had accused Justice N V Ramana of “influencing the sittings of the (AP) High Court including the roster of a few honourable judges” and cited “instances of how matters important to Telugu Desam Party (opposition in AP) have been allocated to a few honourable judges…”. The letter complete with annexures, has also accused the state judiciary and five of its judges of “bias…towards Telugu Desam Party and its interests, in the nature of orders passed staying investigation, staying enquiry and the rest…”. Justice Ramana is likely to be the next CJI in April 2021, after Justice Bobde demits office.
Manan Kumar Mishra stated that the contents in Jagan’s letter and the serious allegations leveled against Justice N V Ramana have to be viewed seriously and necessary action should be initiated. He stated that Jagan’s letter is a blatant attempt to shake the confidence of the public in the judiciary.
“The Chief Minister releasing the letter in public domain is a deeper conspiracy to malign and tarnish the judicial system. The letter coming from the chief minister has caused deep anguish to the Bar Council of India. As the head of the state, the Chief Minister is duty-bound to respect the judiciary. The letter is liable to be treated as scandalising the court, attracting appropriate action,” Mishra said in his letter to Chief Justice S A Bobde. Further, the Bar Council of India has noted that it was deeply anguished at the contents of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter and said the CM’s actions were highly contemptuous and an attempt at overawing the judiciary.. Jagan’s letter, the Bar Council of India, stated that it tends to scandalise and breach the independence of judiciary.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association released a statement Thursday expressing its disappointment in Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter. “Such a precipitous and irresponsible act is highly improper. It undermines the dignity of the institution and shakes the confidence of people at large,” the statement said.
Justice Noushad Ali, a former Andhra Pradesh High Court judge, on Thursday wrote a letter to Chief Justice Bobde stating that Jagan’s letter smacks of “orchestrated allegations” against Justice Ramana.
In the letter, Noushad Ali stated, “Their projection is that their leader is a unique person having a mandate of 151 MLAs out of 175 strength, hence the courts should respect him as superior. “In his letter, the Chief Minister made charges against orders passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in recent months, all of which are pending before the Supreme Court.
On Wednesday, Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, on whose petition Justice Ramana’s bench had ordered speedy trial of cases against politicians, also wrote to the CJI asking for a “full court meeting” to discuss the issue.
“The letter was released in public domain not only to derail the Election Reform matters but also to intimidate judicial proceedings,” Ashwini Kumar has pointed out in his letter to Chief Justice Bobde. Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay stated that Jagan’s letter and subsequent press conference “is more than dishonest mischievous attempt to pressurize the judiciary.
“Reddy and his colleagues are facing serious charges of crime and corruption which would have landed any ordinary man in jail for at least 10 years, if sentenced concurrently, and for more than 30 years, if sentenced consecutively,” he had stated.
Earlier, the Delhi High Court Bar Association took serious objection to Jagan’s letter. Two petitioners – G S Mani & Pradeep Kumar Yadav – also filed a petition in the Supreme Court with an appeal to remove Jagan Mohan Reddy as the Chief Minister.
The petitioners contended that Jagan who is facing over 30 criminal cases has been abusing his power and post as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. The Public Interest Litigation filed under Article 32 of the Constitution of India (dated 14.10.2020. vide Diary No. 22452/2020) further contended that Jagan, who is facing serious criminal charges, including money laundering and quid pro quo cases, is lowering the image of the judiciary by making scandalous remarks against courts and judges.
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh has written the letter casting aspersions on Supreme Court judge Justice N V Raman in order to malign, tarnish and damage the senior most judge, the petitioners contended. “The petition is filed seeking action against the 3rd respondent (Jagan Mohan Reddy) only to protect the independence and integrity of judiciary and its judges. It is painful that false, vague and political allegations were made against the senior most judge of the Supreme Court only to disturb the independence of the judiciary,” the petitioners had contended.