Andhra Pradesh HC orders CBI probe into social media feedback by YSRCP leaders

Naveen S Garewal 

Tribune News Service 

Hyderabad, October 12 

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into comments on social media that tend to lower the image and prestige of the judges and the judiciary.

Expressing displeasure over the CID probe into the matter, the high court asked the CBI to investigate and submit a report in eight weeks. 

A Division Bench of Justices Rakesh Kumar and J. Uma Devi directed the CBI to probe the comments and social media posts by leaders of YSR Congress Party (YSRCP). 

During a hearing on October 8 to the high court had observed that the state CID was not taking the investigation into the adverse comments on judges and judiciary seriously despite being pointed out and even after a formal complaint had been lodged by the high court Registrar. 

The high court took a serious view after about 90 social media users made derogatory comments against the judges after the decisions went again the current government. These included Assembly Speaker Thammineni Sitaram, Deputy Chief Minister Narayana Swamy, Rajya Sabha member Vijaya Sai Reddy, besides others. 

Some lawyers said the recent complaint by the Chief Minister YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) against a sitting judge of the Supreme Court has also not been taken well by the judiciary.

The chief minister in his complaint has accused the sitting Supreme Court Judge of interfering in the functioning of the Andhra Pradesh High Court to prevent action against former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu. 

The court has observed that the CID was not serious in probing the social media offenders. The police are registering cases against people who comment against the government on social media, but are unwilling to take action against the people who are commenting and defaming the judiciary on social media. 

Andhra Pradesh Advocate general Sriram and CID counsel Niranjan Reddy said they had no objection if the probe against the social media offenders were to be handed over to the CBI. 

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