The All India Bar Association (AIBA) on Saturday urged the Chief Justice of India to initiate contempt of court proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy for making scandalous allegations against senior judge of the Supreme Court Justice NV Ramana, and the judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
In a letter to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde dated October 6, Jagan had alleged that Justice Ramana has been influencing the sittings of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, including the roster of a few judges.
The Chairman of AIBA Adish C Aggarwala, while condemning the Chief Minister for his letter to the CJI, said the scurrilous and scandalous remarks against Justice Ramana — who is next in line to become the Chief Justice of India — and the judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, has shaken the independence of the judiciary.
Expressing serious concern over the issue, Aggarwala said the letter from a Chief Minister facing various corruption and money laundering charges in the courts, is unwarranted and clearly an attempt to obstruct the courts by vilifying judges and intimidating them for obtaining favourable orders.
"It is completely an abuse of the process of rule of law that the Chief Minister instead of resorting to appeals and other mechanisms provided under the Constitution, has resorted to level serious allegations against judges, who have dealt with certain cases," the All India Bar Association added.
It is a dangerous and callous act undertaken by the Chief Minister, which may have consequences for democracy in the state and may lead to serious consequences, it said, adding that the letter to the CJI is rife with mala fides as the same appears to have been intended to bench hunt for securing favourable orders.
"The tone, tenor and timing clearly establish the vested interests and hidden agenda of the Chief Minister. In this context, it would be important to note that Justice NV Ramana is dealing with a public interest litigation for decriminalizing politics and fast tracking pending criminal cases against corrupt politicians. There is no gainsaying that the Chief Minister has numerous pending criminal and money laundering cases," the AIBA said.
The bar association said that it is a matter of pain and anguish that the state government has foisted a false FIR against his kin on a baseless, fabricated and fictitious basis to intimidate the judge and scandalize the court.
On October 15, the Bar Council of India (BCI) had said that Jagan Mohan Reddy targeted Supreme Court judge Justice NV Ramana in a bid to pressurise him, to tarnish his image and scandalize the institution.
The Supreme Court Bar Association has also condemned Jagan’s letter to the CJI. It said that “such actions by constitutional functionaries are opposed to conventions causing serious inroads impacting the independence of the judiciary as enshrined in the Constitution of India.”