Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 2
Attorney General KK Venugopal on Monday declined consent to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and his aide Ajeya Kallam who levelled certain allegations against Justice NV Ramana even as he disapproved of their contumacious conduct.
“I am of the opinion that the timing itself of the letter as well as it being placed in the public domain through a press conference could certainly be said to be suspect, in the background of the order passed by Justice Ramana dated 16.09.2020, directing pending prosecution of elected representatives to be taken up and disposed of expeditiously,” Venugopal said in a letter to advocate Ashwani Kumar Upadhyay.
Last month, Reddy had written a letter to CJI Bobde alleging that “Justice Ramana has been influencing the sittings of the High Court including the roster of a few Hon’ble judges and instances of a few matters important to Telugu Desam have been allotted to a few judges.” The contents of the letter were made public at a press conference addressed by Kallam, the Principal Adviser to the AP Chief Minister.
Upadhyay, a Delhi BJP leader, had sought to initiate criminal contempt proceedings against Reddy and Kallam for unprecedented “the audacious assault” on the judiciary.
Highlighting that Jagan was facing criminal prosecution in 31 cases, the Attorney General wrote, “In this background, prima facie, the conduct of the said persons is contumacious. However, what has to be noted is that the entire case of contempt arises out of the letter dated 06.10.2020 written by the Chief Minister directly to the Chief Justice of India and the subsequent press conference held by Sh. Kellam. The Chief Justice of India is seized of the matter. Hence, it would not be appropriate for me to deal with the matter.”
Justice Ramana – the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court—is likely to succeed Justice Bobde as the next CJI in April 2021.
Last month, a PIL was also filed in the Supreme Court demanding action against him for his anti-judiciary utterances.