Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service
Hyderabad, October 11
The Andhra Pradesh government on Sunday has complained to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) about the intervention and influencing of serving Supreme Court judge Justice NV Ramana in the proceedings of the state High Court to benefit a political party and individuals.
It has sought the Apex Court’s consideration to ensure that the state judiciary maintained neutrality.
Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister Ajaya Kallam, addressing the media here on Saturday, has released a letter written by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to the CJI, which categorically stated that the government had material evidence to show that Justice NV Ramana had been influencing the proceedings of the state High Court, which had recently issued orders staying the proceedings of the Cabinet sub-committee and the SIT and stay of the investigation and gag order on an FIR filed against former advocate-general Dammalapati Srinivas and two daughters of Justice NV Ramana and others.
The names were removed in compliance with the High Court orders in a writ petition.
The case pertains to the purchase of land in large extent abutting the proposed capital region by people in the high office and their associates with prior knowledge and has come to be known as the Amaravati land scam. The land deals took place during the term of Chandrababu Naidu.
The state has placed material evidence before the CJI, the instances evidencing Justice NV Ramana’s proximity with N Chandrababu Naidu and his interventions to protect the interests of the TDP. The instances of judicial impropriety of Justice NV Ramana, while he was the Judge of High Court, in passing orders favouring Dammalapati Srinivas, was also mentioned.
The Chief Minister, in his letter dated October 6, 2020, has expressed his enormous respect towards the Judiciary, the High Court and the Supreme Court and the letter is only to sensitise the Supreme Court about the acts of a few individual judges and reiterated his government’s abiding compliance with the Judiciary, the Constitution and all institutions.
The eight-page letter written by the Chief Minister mentioned about the material he has enclosed in the annexure to show that “Justice NV Ramana has been influencing the High Court including the roster of a few Honourable judges and instances of how matters important to the TDP have been allocated to a few Honourable Judges to establish the nexus between Justice NV Ramana, TDP and a few Judges of High Court. The latest one being the orders passed by High Court Chief Justice Maheshwari, in a writ petition filed by Dammalapati Srinivas, can lead to no other inference. This is the order of stay of an investigation in the FIR lodged against D Srinivas, including the gag order on press, against which an SLP is preferred. An interim order was passed on the very next day of the gag order staying further proceedings, despite the SLP”.
“The beneficiaries of both orders of the High Court are politicians belonging to the TDP, of which Justice NV Ramana was a legal adviser and Additional Advocate General in the past advising the government run by the TDP and his closeness to Chandrababu Naidu is well known. This reflects in the nature of orders passed staying investigation, inquiry and rest at the admission stage itself,” the letter further read.
The Chief Minister in his letter stated that he had true faith and allegiance to the Constitution, under which the three branches of Legislature, Executive and Judiciary should function. “To avoid power in any one of the three branches, the Constitution has devised a scheme of power distribution both horizontally and vertically. The check on members of the judiciary is their conscience and adherence to settled principles and jurisprudence,” he said in the letter.
During the period of 2014-19, the former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his coterie have amassed wealth by misuse of power which mandated an inquiry by our government based on numerous complaints The cabinet sub-committee report was placed in the State Assembly, which has pointed out the illegal transactions of about 4,000 acres of land.
In course of the inquiry, it came to light that two daughters of Justice NV Ramana and some of his close associates and relatives are beneficiaries of the questionable transactions that took place between the date of swearing in by Chandrababu Naidu as the Chief Minister and his announcement of the Capital region. The transactions were routed through D Srinivas who was at that point of time Additional Advocate General of the state.
In the annexure, the Chief Minister gave a detailed report on the numerous petitions and PILs filed by the TDP or its sympathisers against the decisions and Bills passed by the government and the Court, with names of judges, protecting their interests — Amaravati Land scam, Stay of eviction or demolition process, a criminal petition on Ramesh Hospitals, State Election Commissioner seeking quashing of the FIR against Assistant Secretary of Navayuga Engineering, writ challenging the SIT and Cabinet sub-committee findings, allegations of phone tapping of Honourable judges, PIL relating to arrest of Chandrababu Naidu in Vizag among others.
The state has appealed to the CJI to look into the matter and consider initiating steps to ensure that the state judiciary’s neutrality is maintained.