Caught in an unseemly row over his complaint against judges, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has got deeper into trouble. The Supreme Court Advocates-On-Record Association (SCAORA), the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA), and Supreme Court Women Lawyers Association (SCWLA) have slammed the CM for writing to the Chief Justice of India casting aspersions on Justice N V Ramana.
The Executive Committee of SCAORA in its virtual meeting passed a resolution condemning the letter of the CM and its release in the press. The DHCBA also passed a scathing resolution against the CM. The resolution called the circulation of the letter in the public domain a dishonest attempt at overawing the independence of the judiciary.
It recorded in the resolution that Justice Ramana, who is next-in-line to become the CJI, has been one of the most virtuous judges with the highest level of integrity.
SCWLA also expressed its angst and disappointment at the letter of the CM and called it a precipitous and irresponsible act that is highly improper.
Senior advocate Indira Jaising said that in her opinion, there has been a major constitutional impropriety by the CM as he is the head of the executive of a state.
A direct approach to a CJI compromises the independence of the Judiciary and compromises the separation of powers, she said. “It is a dangerous precedent,” she said.
Senior Advocate Mohan Katarki said the Chief Minister, who is an accused in a criminal case, should not have written straight to the CJI recklessly complaining against a senior judge. This is, Katarki said, in complete breach of constitutional decorum.
The proper procedure for the Chief Minister in a situation like this is to approach the Governor with his complaint and request him to take up the matter with Union Law Minister and CJI, Katarki added.
Advocate on Record (AoR) Sunil Fernandes said if the state government had any grievance, it should have raised it on the judicial side, by filing appropriate petitions before the Supreme Court against orders that the state government is aggrieved by.
Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jaganmohan Reddy is facing multiple cases of corruption and had written to the CJI on October 6 alleging that Justice Ramana has been influencing the Andhra Pradesh High Court against his government. The letter also cast aspersions on the several sitting judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court including the Chief Justice of that High Court.
The letter came after a bench led by Justice Ramana directed that the trial of all MLA and MPs who are facing charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act be expedited.
The CM also referred to Justice Ramana’s alleged proximity to TDP leader and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and an Anti-Corruption Bureau probe into “questionable transactions of land”.
In an eight-page letter, Reddy wrote to CJI SA Bobde, alleging that Justice Ramana — next in line to be the CJI — “has been influencing the sittings of the (Andhra Pradesh) High Court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges”.