Andhra CM Writes to CJI With Allegations Against Top SC Judge
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy claims there is a nexus between the judge, the TDP and judges of the AP high court.
In an unprecedented move, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, on 6 October, wrote to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, alleging a “nexus” between one of the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, former CM Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party, and judges of the AP High Court.
“(Top SC judge) has been influencing the sittings of the high court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges and instances of how matters important to Telugu Desam Party have been allocated to a few Honourable Judges are enclosed in the annexure, along with the copies of the orders passed in a few matters.”Jagan’s letter to the CJI
Alleging bias in the state judiciary towards the TDP, Reddy has asked the CJI to look into the issue, and initiate any steps required “to ensure that the State judiciary’s neutrality is maintained.”
WHAT DOES THE LETTER SAY
The eight-page letter by Reddy, which was released in a press conference by Ajeya Kallam, Principal Advisor to the CM, notes that his government formed a cabinet sub-committee on 26 June 2019 to examine allegations of corruption, land-grabbing, and exploitation of natural resources against the previous TDP government in the state.
This sub-committee made certain prima facie findings about such misdeeds by Naidu and others, “including illegal transactions of purchase of considerable extent of land” by them or their associates.
Their report was placed before the AP Legislative Assembly, which recommended a further enquiry. The report was also forwarded to the Centre asking for a CBI investigation.
In the course of the sub-committee’s enquiry and a preliminary investigation by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, Reddy claims that the daughters and associates of a senior judge of the apex court, including a former additional advocate general of the state, were found to be beneficiaries of land transactions connected to Amravati, the proposed new capital of Andhra Pradesh.
The CM claims that the Supreme Court judge would have been aware of these transactions as the daughters in question are listed as his dependents in an affidavit regarding his assets from a year before the purchase.
Reddy claims that the judge’s “proximity to Mr Chandrababu Naidu is too well known.” A copy of interactions between Naidu and the judge – part of official Supreme Court collegium consultations – has been enclosed with the letter, which discuss the fitness of candidates considered for elevations as judges of the AP High Court.
The CM goes on to claim that the nexus between the apex court judge, TDP and high court judges can be seen in the way the Chief Justice of the AP High Court ordered a stay on the investigation of the FIR connected with the Amravati land scam on 15 September.
He also notes that “While the Supreme Court has been steadfast in ensuring no prior-restraint on publication by media,” the high court issued a gag order on the press regarding the issue on the same day.
It is also pointed out that Justice DVSS Somayajulu of the AP High Court passed an interim order the next day, staying any further proceedings based on the cabinet sub-committee report. The beneficiary of both these orders is claimed to be the TDP politicians.
“The same clearly demonstrates the bias in the State judiciary towards the Telugu Desam Party and its interests, in the nature of the orders passed staying investigation, staying enquiry, and the rest, at the admission stage itself.”Jagan’s letter to the CJI
Interestingly, the material provided by the CM shows that the senior SC judge actually advised against the appointment of Justice Somayajulu to the high court.
The materials released by Reddy to the media include a list of decisions by various judges of the high court, which he claims show that “the august Institution of the High Court is being used to destabilise and topple the democratically elected Government of the State of AP, with indelible trail leading back to the overt and covert actions of Sri N Chandrababu Naidu through (top SC judge).”
As of now, there has been no public response by CJI Bobde, the Supreme Court or the senior judge who has been named in the letter.
(This is a developing story and will be updated with further developments.)
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