The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday said that recent transfer of its chief justice as well as that of the Telangana High Court gave “undue advantage” to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in cases pending against him, reported Live Law.
The observation was made by Justice Rakesh Kumar, while hearing a petition where the Andhra Pradesh government sought his recusal from a bench in a case against Reddy. Kumar rejected the plea, saying that it was “simply a contemptuous act and it is highly deprecated”, according to The News Minute.
Kumar also referred to a letter sent to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde in October by Reddy, where the chief minister alleged that the state judiciary was under influence of Supreme Court judge Justice NV Ramana.
“People may draw an inference as if after the so called letter of Hon’ble Chief Minister, the two Chief Justices, i.e, Chief Justice of High Court for the State of Telangana and Chief Justice of High Court of AP have been transferred,” Kumar said, according to Live Law.
On October 6, Reddy had written to Bobde, alleging that Ramana had been influencing the sittings of the state high court and asked him to consider initiating steps to ensure that Andhra Pradesh’s judicial neutrality was maintained.
On December 14, the Supreme Court collegium recommended the transfer of four high court chief justices, including those of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
On Wednesday, Kumar, without raising questions on the collegium’s decision, observed that the transfer of high court judges and chief justices “may reflect some transparency”. He termed Reddy’s letter as “unceremonious” and suggested that the transfers provided him with an undue advantage.
“By the said transfer, naturally, the cases pending in the Court of Special Judge for CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation] cases in Hyderabad against Sri YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and others may be delayed,” he said.
The court pointed out that there were several criminal cases pending against Reddy, besides other cases filed by the Enforcement Directorate. “Surprisingly, though cases are pending since 2011 and onwards, till date, in none of the cases, charges have been framed,” Kumar said. “Is it not a mockery with the system?”
Kumar further said that he got information about cases against Reddy on search engine Google. He said after Reddy’s letter to the chief justice of India, he was curious to know about the cases against the chief minister. “Subsequently, I was told that if I go on site ‘Google’ and type only “Khaidi [Prisoner] No.6093”, I can get information,” he said. “Accordingly, I did the same thing and thereafter I got very disturbing information.”
Besides rejecting the plea to recuse Kumar from the case, the court also observed that an affidavit by Pravin Kumar, a state government official, on which the petition was based, contained “untrue and false” information and amounted to perjury, Live Law reported. The court ordered the initiation of criminal proceedings for perjury against the officer and issued show-cause notice for contempt action against him.