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Opinion

HC detains Andhra government for attacking the judiciary

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Criticizing the government of YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for alleged infringement of fundamental rights of the people and openly attacking the judiciary, the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday disagreed with the Supreme College’s recommendation to abruptly transfer the Chief Justice Supreme JK Maheshwari.

A division bank headed by Judge Rakesh Kumar made the comments upon having a petition filed by the state government asking the judge to recuse himself from a case involving the sale of government land under a scheme called Mission Build AP. to raise funds for social welfare. schemes.

Judge Kumar, who will be retiring on Thursday, ordered the high court secretary general to file a criminal case against senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) official Praveen Kumar, Mission Build AP special officer, for wrongly attributing some comments to the judge. which he said he had never done.

In an affidavit filed on December 16, the IAS official expressed concern that Judge Kumar could be biased against the government and his tenure on the division bench could deprive him of a fair hearing. He cited media reports saying the judge had made “unwarranted” comments about the alleged breakdown of the constitutional machinery in the state.

Describing the accusations made by the IAS officer as false and malicious, Judge Kumar said that the affidavit was derogatory and amounted to interference in the performance of judicial functions. He asked the officer to explain why he cannot be prosecuted for contempt of court and gave him six weeks to respond.

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In his 55-page sentence, Judge Kumar referred to pending criminal cases against the prime minister and recalled reports about how he allegedly abused power to force the police to drop the cases against him.

He also referred to Jagan Reddy’s letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde on October 6 that made accusations against Supreme Court Justice NV Ramana, Chief Justice of the State JK Maheshwari and some others judges and the consequent leak of the letter to the media three days later.

He said the transfer of the Chief Justice on December 14 would send the wrong message to the people. “… the fact is that he managed to gain an undue advantage at this time (through the transfer of the CJ Supreme Court).” Judge Kumar said.

There was friction between Justice Maheshwari, who took over as Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh in October 2019, and Jagan Reddy. In March, the high court delivered a speech on the state government’s decision to paint panchayat buildings in the colors of the ruling party. A month later, the superior court overturned Reddy’s decision to introduce English as a medium of instruction in public schools.

For months, the fight between the government and the judiciary in the state continued on various issues, finally reaching a flash point in September when the high court issued a gag order prohibiting the media from reporting on the content. of a first information report (FIR) in a country. scandal in the city of Amaravati involving former Attorney General Dammalapati Srinivas and daughters of a sitting Supreme Court Justice, Justice NV Ramana.

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In October, Reddy wrote a letter to CJI Bobde, complaining that Judge Ramana was trying to influence cases in the high court to destabilize his government.

Judge Kumar said that due to the transfer of the Chief Justice, the government of Jagan Reddy was destined to gain an undue benefit, especially regarding the hearings on the petitions filed by the poor farmers of Amaravati against the bills to create three capitals of Andhra Pradesh. Amaravati had been designed as the capital of Andhra Pradesh by Jagan Reddy’s predecessor, N. Chandrababu Naidu.

Now, the final hearing on the batch of petitions on Amaravati has stopped. There is the possibility that some time could be consumed in the reconstitution of the Bank and, from then on, that the zero hearing will begin in those cases, ”he said.

Judge Kumar also referred to the criminal cases that the central agencies are processing against Jagan Reddy.

“After the Supreme Court tribunal headed by Justice NV Ramana in September ordered the prompt resolution of pending criminal cases against politicians, the Andhra police closed seven or eight criminal cases against Jagan Mohan Reddy on September 23,” he pointed.

Judge Kumar said that the court was finding it difficult to protect the fundamental rights of citizens in Andhra Pradesh due to the violation of their rights. He referred to several habeas corpus petitions filed with the court following alleged illegal detentions. He recalled that in one of those petitions, he had even summoned the director general of police to the court on the application of the rule of law in the state.

He defended the observations he made on Wednesday. “But since I was on the brink of retirement, my impartiality has been questioned by the Andhra Pradesh government to my face, in my defense I was forced to record the above facts that cannot be disputed. My only effort is to defend the majesty of the law, ”Judge Kumar said.

The head of government, G Srikanth Reddy, said it was regrettable that the superior court judge had made such remarks against the state government on the brink of retirement.

“It clearly shows that he has recorded the comments at the trial due to some personal resentment against the prime minister and the government. We have nothing personal against him, but such comments would only negatively reflect his credibility. I fear that people could lose their faith in the judiciary with such personal remarks against the prime minister, ”Reddy said.

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