The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into allegedly defamatory social media posts on judgements of the court by the state’s ruling YSR Congress Party members, reported Live Law. The bench of Justices Rakesh Kumar and J Uma Devi asked the CBI to register a first information report and submit a report within eight weeks.

The order came a few days after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, alleging that Supreme Court judge Justice NV Ramana had been influencing the sittings of the state High Court, including the roster of some judges.

The High Court said the central agency should file cases against all those who slandered judges and asked the government to cooperate. It added that the agency should also examine if there was a “larger conspiracy” behind such attacks on the judiciary.

The court said the “objectionable comments” on social media against its judgements were tarnishing the reputation of the judiciary. “The person occupying high posts are indulging in waging war against the judicial system in the state of Andhra Pradesh oblivious of the fact that even their entity is existed since there is democratic system in our country,” said the court, according to Live Law.

In a letter dated October 6, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy had alleged that cases important to the Opposition Telugu Desam Party were “allocated to a few judges”. Reddy said that beneficiaries of two important judgements of the Andhra Pradesh High Court were Telugu Desam Party leaders. The chief minister also highlighted that Ramana was a legal adviser and additional advocate-general in the previous Chandrababu Naidu-led government.

Reddy urged Bobde to consider initiating steps to ensure that Andhra Pradesh’s judicial neutrality was maintained. The High Court has gagged the media from reporting on a land deal case in Amaravati concerning a former legal officer and others.

Also read:

At heart of Jagan Reddy vs Justice Ramana battle is India’s collegium system for picking judges