The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday (December 31) observed that the recent transfer of chief justices of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana by the Supreme Court collegium, would delay the proceedings in the corruption cases pending against Andhra Pradesh YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and, give him “undue advantage”.
While rejecting a petition filed by the state government to recuse himself from the case, Justice Rakesh Kumar said Jagan by sending a letter to the Chief Justice of India with allegations against the Andhra Pradesh High Court, undoubtedly “succeeded in getting undue advantage”.
Jagan in a letter to CJI SA Bobde on October 6 had alleged that the state high court was trying to “destabilise and topple” his government. In the letter, Jagan reportedly had accused senior Supreme Court judge NV Ramana of interfering in the functioning of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. A few days earlier, a bench headed by Ramana had ordered the completion of the trial against all politicians in the country within a year.
Jagan’s letter to the CJI was followed by the transfer of the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court Jitendra Kumar Maheswari to the Sikkim High Court and that of his Telangana counterpart Chief Justice RS Chouhan to the Uttarakhand High Court on December 14.
Both the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana high courts have been hearing CBI cases pending against Jagan.
A bench of justices Kumar and D Ramesh said that Jagan has got some 30-odd cases of corruption and money laundering against him closed, and had the audacity to apply for the recusal of Justice Kumar from the case.
“In the present batch of cases in which final hearing is yet to commence, unceremoniously a petition has been filed, not by the private party, but on behalf of the State of Andhra Pradesh, duly sworn by a senior bureaucrat making some wild allegation against one of the members of the Division Bench Justice Rakesh Kumar). For a while I was astonished with such behaviour of the State but immediately thereafter, I perceived that bureaucrats of this State have been emboldened after apparent success of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in addressing a letter to the Chief Justice of India and making it public, making allegation against one of the senior Judges of Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of AP High Court and number of sitting Judges of AP High Court with their names,” the court said.
“If such petitions are entertained, it will amount to allowing the party for hunting the Bench. Such an action by the State was not expected, but in this State, as I have observed the circumstances herein above, everything can be possible. However, at the same time, the Court cannot be frightened by any such action of the State,” the court added.
Calling for transparency in the SC collegium, Justice Kumar said he was not questioning the transfer or the chief justices of the Telugu states, but asking that the “transfer of high court judges or its chief justices may reflect some transparency and for the betterment or upliftment of the administration of justice” as they too are “holding constitutional posts like members of Supreme Court collegium.”