Calling it an “abject interference in the administration of justice”, the Delhi High Court Bar Association on 14th October 2020 condemned the letter written by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to the Chief Justice of India alleging impropriety by Justice N V Ramana, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court.
The Bar Association called the letter against Justice N V Ramana, who is next in line to be CJI, an attempt to overawe the judiciary and was tantamount to contempt. In the letter to the CJI, which was released by the Andhra CM’s Principal Advisor Ajeya Kallam, Reddy alleged that Justice Ramana “has been influencing the sittings of the (Andhra Pradesh) High Court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges”.
The eight-page letter also refers to Justice Ramana’s alleged “proximity” to TDP leader and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and an Anti-Corruption Bureau investigation into “questionable transactions of land” involving two daughters of Justice Ramana and others in Amaravati, before it was declared the site for the new capital of the state.
The Chief Minister has also mentioned “instances of how matters important to Telugu Desam Party have been allocated to a few Honourable Judges”.
Reddy’s letter to the CJI comes at a time when a bench headed by Justice Ramana is hearing a plea seeking fast-tracking of criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs. The Andhra CM, too, is facing some cases and the proceedings in one of them had resumed in a CBI court on October 9th.
On Tuesday, an advocate moved the Supreme Court seeking action against Jagan Mohan Reddy for making public his “unsubstantiated allegations” against a senior judge of the court, stating that “what is at stake is the confidence which the courts in a democratic society must inspire in the public”. The petition moved through Advocate Mukti Singh, said Reddy “has crossed the limit which has been prescribed by the Constitution” and that what has been done is “nothing but an attempt to de-stabilize the duly established democratic setup of our country”.