The case is connected with the arrest of a member of the Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly named K Raghu Rama Krishna Raju who was arrested from his residence in Hyderabad on 14th May 2021 by the officials of the Crime Investigation Department. He was charged under sections 124A: sedition, 153A: promoting enmity between different groups and 505: incite any class or community of persons to commit any offence read with 120B: criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code. He had been representing the Narsapuram party.
It had been reported that he had been inciting violence against the state government, especially Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy for a considerable time. Among the many policies of the government which he had been criticizing few are:
- The introduction of English as the prime language to be used as the mode of conduct in the state schools
- The apparent attack on the Hindu temples
- The state government’s negligence in managing the state affairs under the current situation of the second wave of the covid 19 pandemic.
The politician had undergone heart surgery a few months ago and had been detected with signs of physical illness. He had been granted Y+ security by the Central Home Ministry after he had written to them about threats, he had been receiving over phone calls from unknown numbers. Upon tracing, the numbers were found to be from various countries. He had also complained to A.K. Bhalla, in the Union Home Secretary that his phone calls were being tapped by the intelligence authorities, as directed by the Chief Minister who maliciously suspected him of causing sedition against the state government.
The members of YSRCP had written to the speaker of the Lok Sabha for his disqualification as a member of the parliament on account of spreading communal hatred and violence. After a careful investigation led by the Central Bureau of Investigation, he was arrested and produced before the magistrate after preliminary interrogation.
On 14th May, the magistrate, after going through the developments of the case so far, directed the officials to conduct a medical examination of the accused in the Ramesh hospital, Guntur as per the covid 19 protocols. The order was also issued as a response to the complaint of the accused that he was being tortured in the police custody as pleaded by senior advocate Adi Narayana Rao. Concerning the same case, the Andhra Pradesh High Court had also issued an order to construct a medical board for the examination of Raju on 15th May. It was also stated that this order was not an annulment of the order of the magistrate for the medical examination of the legislator. The order was uploaded on 15th May at 11 p.m.
The court, at a further date, on 19th May, was shocked to know that the orders for the medical examination were not at all complied with. Therefore, a case of sue moto was registered against the Additional Director General of Police, DGP office, Guntur Station House Officer, CID Police Station, Mangalgiri, Guntur District and Superintendent of Government Hospital, Guntur. The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Lalitha Kannengati and Justice C Praveen Kumar.
The Additional Advocate General of the state, P. Sudhakar Reddy who is representing the state has pleaded that the accused had appealed before the apex court on the 17th of May and the honourable Supreme Court had directed the state to conduct a medical examination of the accused in the Army hospital of Secunderabad.
The council also stated that the High Court’s order had been received by the officials at 11 p.m. in the night. The jail doors couldn’t be opened at that moment. He had also said in the court that the orders of the court were baseless, fraud and nullity and therefore needed not to be complied with. According to Advocate Reddy, the examination in a private hospital would be a breach of the powers of the magistrate under section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedures.
These statements have been perceived to be disrespectful and contemptuous by the state High Court. Justice Lalitha Kannengati has said that as long as an order from a higher court does not supersede the order given by a state High Court, the only option left with the officials should comply with the order given. Also, if the time to appeal to the Supreme Court could be managed, the time to conduct the medical examination as directed by the magistrate could be taken out. The behaviour and words chosen by the council representing the state have been severely criticized by both the judges. He had also flared up and started sounding brazen during the advancement of arguments which is not an acceptable mode of behaviour in the court of law. Nevertheless, the court has decided to not register a case of contempt for this behaviour as a measure of magnanimity. However, it has been warned that if the same is repeated further, the court will not hesitate to initiate disciplinary action against the advocate.
On 21st May, the Supreme Court granted bail to the accused after hearing the learned arguments of senior advocate Mukul Rohtangi.