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  • 26 October, 2020

  • 5 Min Read

Truth must come out

Truth must come out


  • The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, Jagan Mohan Reddy, in a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) on October 6, has made serious allegations of interference in the course of administration of justice by Justice N V Ramana, the senior-most judge after the CJI and the next in line for the post.
  • Justice Ramana, according to Reddy, is close to the former CM of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu, and has been influencing the sittings of the high court judges of Andhra Pradesh — including the allocation of cases important to the Telugu Desam Party — to a few chosen judges.

Bar Associations:

  • The Supreme Court Bar Association has passed a resolution condemning Reddy’s action in placing the letter in the public domain.
  • It has stated that such actions by constitutional functionaries are opposed to conventions and have a serious impact on the independence of the judiciary.
  • However, the resolution by the SC Bar is not unanimous, as its president Dushyant Dave has not endorsed it.
  • Dave is reported to have expressed the view that so far no one knows about the truthfulness or otherwise of the allegations, and that truth will emerge only once there is an enquiry into the allegations.
  • Till then, according to Dave, any resolution is premature and would tantamount to pre-empting the enquiry.
  • He goes on to say that if after the enquiry the allegations are found to be false, the SC must initiate contempt proceedings against Reddy.

Are the allegations highly motivated against judiciary?

  • Last month, a bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Ramana delivered a judgment in which he passed directions, including a request to the chief justices of the high courts to head special benches to immediately hear criminal cases against MPs and MLAs, which are pending for decades. It also directed that the hearings should proceed on a day-to-day basis.
  • It is being said in some circles that the Andhra CM, who is under a scanner with more than 30 cases of corruption pending against him, is irked by this judgment, and that his allegations are highly motivated.

Way forward:

  • What is at stake is not only the prestige, independence and the reputation of the honourable judge, but also the high office of the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh.
  • Those who hold high constitutional offices, specially judges, should also be ready to bear the cross if the circumstances so demand.
  • The ball is in the CJI’s court. It is for him to take a call whether to hold an in-house enquiry or to get the allegations examined through some retired judges of the Supreme Court or to hold no enquiry at all.
  • Recently, senior advocate and social activist Prashant Bhushan was held guilty of contempt of court over two tweets posted by him.
  • In one, he had commented on the CJI riding a Harley Davidson motorbike without a helmet and a mask during lockdown, and in the other, he had stated that when history would be written about how democracy was destroyed without a formal emergency, the conduct of the last four CJIs would be particularly marked.
  • The Supreme Court held that the tweets could shake the confidence of the people in the judiciary.
  • If in the wisdom of the Supreme Court, the two tweets of Bhushan were so offensive that they merited conviction and punishment, what Reddy has said about Justice Ramana is far more serious and direct.

Source: IE

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