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, has snowballed into a major controversy. After two Supreme Court lawyers filed a petition to remove Jagan as Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and the Delhi High Court Bar Association unequivocally condemned the letter, BJP leader and Supreme Court lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay wrote a letter to Chief Justice S A Bobde.
In the letter, Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay stated that Jagan’s letter and subsequent press conference “is more than dishonest mischievous attempt to pressurize the judiciary.
Jagan in his letter to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde had alleged impropriety by Justice N V Ramana. 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.
“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. Further, Ashwini Kumar noted that serious cases of corruption, black money, benami property and disproportionate assets are pending against Jagan Mohan Reddy and his colleagues. “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.”
In his letter to Chief Justice Bobde, Ashwini Kumar further pointed out that Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter is a blatant attempt to shake the confidence of the public in the judiciary. “Reddy has crossed the line which separates judiciary and executive. The letter was released in public domain not only to derail the above matters but also to intimidate judicial proceedings. In fact, Reddy is not only indulging in bench-hunting, but also wants the Apex Court to stop hearing the cases pending against him.”
In his letter, Ashwini Kumar went hammer and tongs against Jagan Mohan Reddy. He further pointed out to Chief Justice Bobde that Jagan wrote the letter which is “silly mischievous deceitful act but a deliberate fraudulent and calculated attempt to not only undermine the Apex Court but also to terrorise the judiciary.”
Ashwini Kumar appealed to Chief Justice Bobde to hold a meeting with the 9 judges “full court meeting” to discuss the issue and take appropriate stern steps in order to send a strong message “so that no one can even think of using such deceitful and fraudulent tactics against the judiciary in future.
On Wednesday, Supreme Court lawyers G S Mani & Pradeep Kumar Yadav filed a petition in the top court appealing to remove Jagan 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 31 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 to Chief Justice S A Bobde casting aspersions on Supreme Court judge Justice N V Raman in order to malign, tarnish and damage the senior most judge.
“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 contended.