Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy’s letter to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde – in which he complained about a Justice NV Ramana, a senior judge of the Supreme Court, appears to be willful disobedience of authority, Attorney General KK Venugopal said Monday.
Mr Venugopal questioned the timing of the letter and its release into the public domain, noting that both actions “could certainly be suspect” against the background of orders passed by Justice Ramana in September on pending prosecution against legislators from the Chief Minister’s YSR Congress.
“Since the letter was addressed directly to the Chief Justice of India, the CJI is seized of the case and it would not be appropriate for me to deal with it,” the Attorney General said, explaining why he would not initiate contempt of court proceedings against Mr Reddy.
Advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay had sought the Attorney General’s permission to begin contempt of court proceedings against Chief Minister Reddy over his October letter alleging interference by a senior judge of the Supreme Court.
Mr Upadhyay is the petitioner whose plea led a top court bench headed by the senior judge direct High Courts to expedite cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs. He had written to the Attorney General pointing out that 31 criminal cases were pending against Chief Minister Reddy.
On October 6, the Chief Minister wrote his letter to the Chief Justice, alleging interference by Justice Ramana, who is the second senior-most judge of the top court and the Chief Justice-in-waiting.
Bar associations united to condemn the Chief Minister for his allegations.
In his letter Mr Reddy claimed the senior judge was acting on behalf of his opposition, former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s Telugu Desam Party.
Mr Reddy also expressed “pain and anguish” that the “august institution of the high court is being used to destabilise and topple the democratically-elected government”.
The letter also claimed the senior judge was influencing the Andhra Pradesh High Court.