The YS Jaganmohan Reddy government said on Thursday the state will challenge the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s gag order on the media on reporting about a first information report filed by the the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau, against a former legal officer and others over a land purchase matter in Amaravati, The Indian Express reported.
On September 15, the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered a stay on the investigation into a land deal in Amaravati. Accepting a plea by a former advocate general, against whom the first information report was registered, the High Court also gagged the media from reporting on the details of the case or its context.
“Our party and government feel that Tuesday night’s order by the court, that too a top court, is unprecedented,” Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, a Cabinet-rank official who is an advisor to the Andhra Pradesh government, told The Indian Express. “We have never seen or heard of this kind of order before. Normally, we see governments trying to muzzle the media or bringing in laws to put curbs on the media.” Reddy added that it is usually courts that overturn such government orders.
Reddy said the FIR filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau did not contain anything that violated the privacy of the individuals it mentioned. “There is nothing in the FIR that might have immediately punished those named in it,” the official said. “The only information is that some persons with influence purchased land. So, the hurried response by the court in issuing a gag order sets a new precedent.”
Reddy wondered whether there was any objectivity in the High Court’s order, which accepted the petitioner’s contention that the FIR was politically motivated and borne out of revenge. “We hope the judges introspect on this order,’’ he said.
The YS Jaganmohan Reddy-led government had constituted a 10-member Special Investigation Team headed by Indian Police Service officer K Raghuram Reddy to investigate alleged irregularities during the tenure of the erstwhile Chandrababu Naidu-led Telugu Desam Party government.
On Wednesday, the High Court ordered a stay not only on this particular land deal investigation, but all such inquiries initiated by the Reddy-led government. Telugu Desam Party leaders Varla Ramaiah and Alapati Raja had filed a plea in the court alleging that the government intended to target party leaders by forming the special investigation team, calling it an act of revenge.