The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday ordered a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged ‘defamatory’ remarks made by leaders of the YSRCP against the judiciary. The court has asked the central probe agency to submit a report on the same in eight weeks. The High Court had earlier observed that the comments made against the judiciary by some YSRCP leaders on social media were “perilous to democracy.”
The High Court, before handing over the case to CBI, observed that slanderous posts about judges on social media have misrepresented the judgments of the High Court in several cases.
The High Court has ordered the state government to cooperate with CBI officials in the investigation. According to reports, as many as 49 persons, including some YSRCP activists, have been sent notices by the High Court following a petition filed by a lawyer, who has alleged that the posts on social media were "objectionable" in nature.
The High Court observed that people occupying high posts are indulging in waging a war against the judicial system in the state of Andhra Pradesh, “oblivious of the fact that even their entity has existed since there is democratic system in our country.” The court added that such a "war" against the judiciary will certainly create "unnecessary doubt" in the mind of citizens "against the judicial system, which may cripple the entire system".
The court said, "It goes without saying that on examination of materials available on record, if other materials disclose cognizable offences, it would be necessary for the CBI to register more FIRs, investigate and bring the same to its logical end."
The HC has also asked the CBI to investigate whether such attacks on the judiciary were made as part of a larger conspiracy. The HC also ordered CBI to take appropriate action against the culprits if such a conspiracy is seen.
The HC also ordered CBI to take action against the allegedly defamatory posts made on social media and ensure that they are taken down, and block such users in accordance with the law.
Earlier this month, the High Court opined that it would hand over the case to CBI if the state Crime Investigation Department (CID) failed to probe the same.
Incidentally, this development comes days after Andhra Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy's scathing attack against Justice NV Ramana, where he alleged that the Supreme Court’s second senior-most judge is ‘influencing’ the state’s High Court judges.
On Saturday night, in an unprecedented letter written to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, CM Jagan levelled serious allegations against Justice NV Ramana and several judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He had alleged that Justice Ramana, the opposition Telugu Desam Party and several High Court judges were working in a nexus in an attempt to destabilise the YSRCP government.