Vijayawada: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a slew of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petitions seeking action against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy for his remarks against Supreme Court Judge, Justice N.V. Ramana.
The Bench heard three separate petitions seeking inquiry and action against Jagan for his 'scandalizing' remarks against the second senior-most judge of the top court.
However, a petition filed by Advocate Sunil Kumar Singh, was tagged with the pending appeal filed by the AP government in relation to the matter. Singh's plea sought directions to restrain Reddy from making such public statements about the Supreme Court or its judges.
Singh has claimed that such statements are in violation of Article 121 of the Constitution, which prohibits any discussion in Parliament with respect to the conduct of a Supreme Court or High Court judge.
Advocate Mukti Singh, who was representing Sunil Kumar Singh, said that, "In E.M.S. Namboodiripad case, it was held that chief ministers cannot make such statements."
After hearing the counsel for the petitioners, the Bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Dinesh Maheshwari and Hrishikesh Roy responded, "Let the matter be tagged with the pending plea. No notice." The rest of the petitions, that sought a probe into Jagan's conduct as well as his removal from the post of chief minister, were dismissed.
The petitioners - advocates G.S. Mani, Pradeep Kumar Yadav and Sunil Kumar Singh, and NGO Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust - had submitted that the allegations leveled by Jagan against Justice Ramana were baseless. They also highlighted that Jagan is facing over 20 criminal cases.
Mani, Yadav, and the NGO sought a judicial inquiry by an internal committee headed by sitting or retired judges of the Supreme Court or any authority including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), into the allegations raised by Jagan.
Jagan had sent a letter to Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde on 6 October, making certain allegations against Justice Ramana.
He claimed that Justice Ramana had been influencing the judicial affairs at the AP High Court and calling the shots on the roster of certain High Court judges. It was also alleged in the said letter that cases important to the opposition Telugu Desam Party were being "allocated to a few judges".
On the last date of hearing, Justice U.U. Lalit chose to recuse from the matter. "As a lawyer, I had represented these parties in litigation. I cannot take up this matter. Let this matter be listed at the earliest before any other judge decided by the CJI", he had said.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal had earlier refused to reconsider his decision to deny consent for contempt proceedings against Jagan and his principal advisor Ajeya Kallam, who had made the contentious letter to CJI Bobde public.
The request for the AG's consent was raised by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Upadhyay on 5 November.
Venugopal had said that the CJI was aware of the matter and it would, therefore, be inappropriate for him to give consent and "preclude the determination of the Chief Justice of India on the matter".