Jagan’s letter dangerous threat to judiciary: Supreme Court Bar Association

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The Supreme Court Bar Association on Saturday strongly condemned Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter alleging impropriety by Justice N V Ramana, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court and next in line to be Chief Justice.

The Supreme Court Bar Association in a resolution has stated that Jagan’s letter will severely undermine public faith in the independence of the judiciary.

Jagan in his letter alleged a “nexus” between senior Supreme Court judge Justice N V Ramana and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. In a letter (dated October 6, 2020) to Chief Justice S A Bobde, Jagan alleged that N V Ramana “has been influencing the sittings of the high court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges” in connection with Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party.

The Supreme Court Bar Association stated that a sitting chief minister of a state making such baseless allegations is a cause for serious concern and that such scandalous and unsubstantiate, allegations could herald a dangerous threat to the judiciary. Further, it stated the Chief Minister’s attitude towards judges is a serious risk that could have a prejudicial effect on the image of the higher judiciary. In a letter to the Chief Justice, the association further stated that there is an urgent need to preserve the faith of the people in the independence and impartiality of the judicial process.

“The allegations made by the Chief Minister are violative of the concept of criminal contempt. The CM’s letter is an interference with the due course of a judicial proceeding by attempting to influence the appeals filed by the AP government in the Supreme Court against the HC orders. It is an attempt to interfere and obstruct the administration of justice by ascribing motives to judges and decisions of the court that went against the government,” the SC Bar Association stated. The association was of the view that the Supreme Court should initiate contempt proceedings against Jagan Mohan Reddy and leaders from the YSRCP government.

Jagan had alleged bias in decisions of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in favour of the TDP, including the stay orders on investigation of the FIRs into purchase of land in Amaravati and the High Court gag order.

Earlier, the Delhi High Court Bar Association took serious objection to Jagan’s letter lowering the dignity of Supreme Court Justice N V Ramana by casting aspersions, two Supreme Court lawyers filed a petition in the top court with an appeal to remove Jagan as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh. The two petitioners – G S Mani & Pradeep Kumar Yadav – contended in their plea that Jagan who is facing over 30 criminal cases has been abusing his power and post as the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh.

The Bar Council of India last week wrote to SC Chief Justice S A Bobde stating Jagan’s letter was a deliberate attempt to demean judges, the entire legal fraternity and the Constitution of India itself.

Bar Council of India chairman 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.

Noushad Ali, a former Andhra Pradesh High Court judge, also wrote a letter to Chief Justice Bobde stating that Jagan’s letter smacks of “orchestrated allegations” against Justice N V 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.

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.

The Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association too expressed its disappointment over Jagan 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.

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