The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday handed over to the CBI the case relating to the derogatory and objectionable social media posts lowering the dignity of the judges and judiciary.
Hearing the petition on Monday, the High Court observed that the comments made against the judiciary by the YSRCP leaders on social media were detrimental to democracy. The court gave two months time to the CBI to submit a report.
The HC bench expressed anguish that such comments have lowered the dignity of the judiciary, one of the three pillars of democracy. Such remarks, the court, observed that might lead to internal strife and erode the public confidence in the judiciary.
The High Court handing over the case to the CBI comes in the wake of its earlier serious objections against the state government and the CID not filing cases against the ruling YSRCP leaders. On October 8, the High Court had criticised the state government for not filing cases against its leaders. The court had observed that the comments made on social media by Assembly Speaker Tammineni Sitaram, Deputy Chief Minister Narayana Swamy, Rajya Sabha MP Vijayasai Reddy, Lok Sabha MP Nandigam Suresh and former MLA Aamchi Krishna Mohan amounted to an attack on the judiciary.
“Cases were promptly registered against individuals who make anti-government statements, but why is the government silent when it comes to comments made against the judges and the courts. Why no cases were filed against the public representatives? Comments against courts and judges is a direct attack on the judiciary,” the High Court had observed.
The petitioner brought to the notice of the court that several YSRCP leaders made objectionable remarks against the judiciary, including Tammineni Sitaram, Vijayasai Reddy, Nandigam Suresh and Amanchi Krishna Mohan.
Sitaram had questioned the High Court’s recent verdicts against the state government’s policy decisions. Sitaram had commented that there was no need for the people to elect MLAs and MPs if the courts can decide what the state government should do.
“What is the purpose of elections? It appears that the judges want to run the affairs of the government. Can the state be ruled from court halls. If that is the case, is there a need to elect a chief minister, MLAs or MPs,” he had commented.
Hearing the petition, the High Court had fumed at Sitaram stating that it was unbecoming on the part of the Speaker to make such comments. Vijayasai Reddy made questionable remarks against the Andhra Pradesh judiciary. “The AP judiciary is not impartial and it has to be stopped. It is unfortunate that courts are hindering the investigation into scams. As lawmakers, we have the right to raise the issue in Parliament and speak about the functioning of the judiciary in AP,” Vijaysai Reddy had stated in Rajya Sabha.
The High Court had initiated contempt proceedings against YSRCP MP Nandigam Suresh and 48 others for intimidating judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court, besides using abusive language against them. Amanchi Krishna Mohan, another YSRCP leader, had found fault with the High Court directive to the CBI to probe the police highhandedness against Dr Sudhakar Rao.
The court had sent contempt notices to both the leaders for their comments lowering the dignity of the court. Nandigam Suresh had accused former CM Chandrababu Naidu of managing the High Court. He had alleged that Naidu was privy to court verdicts prior to 30 minutes or 10 minutes of its pronouncements.
In the most sensational statement undermining the judiciary and casting aspersions on the courts, transport minister Perni Venkataramaiah had alleged that some people who worked for the TDP are now in the judiciary to work for the benefit of TDP president and former chief minister Chandrababu Naidu.
YRCP Lok Sabha MP Midhun Reddy had stated in the Parliament that Andhra Pradesh High Court was curbing media freedom in the state. His statement came a day after the High Court issued a gag order restraining the media from publishing or airing stories regarding an FIR in the Amaravati land case.