On Monday, the Supreme Court took up petitions filed by two advocates – GS Mani and Sunil Kumar Singh – seeking order against Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy for making scandalous allegations against Justice NV Ramana, senior siting judge of the apex court.
The case was to be heard by a three-judge bench headed by Justice UU Lalit. But he informed the petitioner lawyers that would be appropriate for another bench to hear the case.
“As a lawyer I had represented these parties in litigation. Let the Registry be directed to list the petition before CJI for passing appropriate orders for listing the matter before a bench of which Justice Lalit is not a member,” Justice Lalit said.
The petitioners had approached the top court against the action of Andhra chief minister for writing a letter to CJI on October 6 raising allegations against Justice Ramana of trying to interfere with criminal trials pending against him in a special court in Telangana.
On October 10, Reddy’s principal advisor conducted a press conference revealing in public all contents of the letter. The petitioners claimed that the chief minister had misused his office to make politically motivated and scandalous charges against the judiciary that were baseless.
Another petition by Singh sought a direction that showcause notice be issued to Reddy for his actions and sought a restraint against any further press conference against judges.
The petitions were soon filed after the October 10 press conference and got listed today for the first time on Monday.
Meanwhile, Attorney General KK Venugopal had recently refused to grant consent for initiating contempt against Jagan Reddy and his advisor Ajeya Kallam as the matter is pending consideration with CJI. Venugopal, however, held the conduct of the duo to be contumacious and called the timing of the letter “suspect” as it followed a direction passed by Justice Ramana on September 16 this year in a PIL proceeding directing fast-tracking of all criminal trials against sitting and former legislators.