Justive CV Nagarjuna Reddy has been accused of alleged discrimination against a Dalit judge.

To impeach or not to impeach The curious case of a Hyderabad HC judge
news Legal Affairs Tuesday, December 20, 2016 - 12:21

The case of a Hyderabad HC judge who voluntarily put his official duties on hold, following impeachment proceedings that were moved against him by 61 MPs in the Rajya Sabha, is getting more unusual by the day.

Three days ago, on Saturday, the Bar Council of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana held a general body meeting in Hyderabad.

Among its list of resolutions, the Bar Council unanimously expressed its solidarity with Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy and urged him to resume duties immediately.

This development came soon after 21 signatories (19 initially), conveyed to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari last week, that they wanted to back track on the impeachment.

According to the norm, the motion needs the signatures of at least 50 MPs, which it failed to attain after the MPs withdrew, following which the house dropped the impeachment. 

History

There are several allegations made against Reddy, but this particular case pertains to claims of alleged discrimination against a Dalit judge.

According to the petition submitted in the Rajya Sabha, "There is an allegation made by a Mr Rama Krishna, formerly principal junior civil judge, Rayachoty, Kadapa district (Andhra), currently under suspension, that he was forced by Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy to remove the name of a Mr Pavan Kumar Reddy, who happens to be the brother of Justice Reddy, from a dying declaration that was recorded by Rama Krishna when he was posted as magistrate at Rayachoty. Pavan Kumar Reddy is also the additional public prosecutor of Rayachoty courts."

According to reports, Rama Krishna recorded a dying declaration of a victim of a red sanders smuggling case, who just before his death, went on record to state that he was set on fire by Pavan Kumar Reddy, who allegedly doused kerosene on him for refusing to sign on a blank paper.

The allegation is that Pavan Kumar was trying to cover up by making someone own up for the theft of a car that was seized with illegal red sanders wood.

It is further alleged that Pavan could operate with such impunity in the area, as his brother held a high judicial post.

Rama Krishna, who has refused to withdraw the allegations, has been under suspension since then. 

TOI reported that the Chief Justice of India (CJI) received two complaints a few months ago on the case, and referred it to a senior SC judge, who in turn held that the case did call for an inquiry.

Reports also suggest that this is not the only allegation made against Reddy.

According to a report in Livelaw, the motion also alleged that Justice Reddy abused his position to amass several movable and immovable properties worth several crore, and also that he had not disclosed his assets and liabilities, which was a violation of the rules.

However, all this was before the motion was put aside.

The MPs who backtracked, were reported to be mostly from the Congress, and claimed that they had been misled, adding that they wanted to withdraw their signature “after realising the unimpeachable integrity and dedicated service to society through the institution of judiciary by Justice CV Nararjuna Reddy." 

However, the names of the MPs were not made public.

Quoting sources, The Hindu stated that Justice Reddy had supporters in Parliament who did speak to MPs to withdraw their signatures.

Speaking to the newspaper, YSR Congress Party MP Vijay Sai Reddy said, "If you are trying to bring in caste into every aspect, we will not be able to function properly as a society...I support Justice Reddy because I believe in his integrity...Each institution has its own function, and the legislature and judiciary need to stay within their red lines."

As of now, it seems that Justice Reddy is back on duty, and is also hearing cases.

"He has been back on duty since yesterday," an individual from his office told TNM, without offering any further comments.

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