AS MANY as 61 members of the Rajya Sabha on Monday submitted a petition to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari for initiating the impeachment process of Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy of the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh high court for alleged victimisation of a Dalit district court judge and amassing assets disproportionate to his income.
The signatories of the notice of motion for the removal of Justice Reddy under Article 217 read with Article 124 of the Constitution include Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), D Raja (CPI), Digvijaya Singh, Oscar Fernandes, Kumari Selja, P L Punia, Shantaram Naik (Congress), Sharad Yadav (JD-U), Naresh Agarwal and Neeraj Shekhar (Samajwadi Party). None of the BJP or ruling alliance members have signed the petition.
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The district court judge who is alleged to have been victimised is under suspension.
The motion lists the following grounds for impeachment:
# “That he interfere(d) in judicial process including physical assault and abusing on caste lines of a Dalit junior civil judge S Rama Krishna of Rayachoty… victimisation of a Dalit judge for not submitting to his illegal demands, including, but not limited to, transfer from Rayachoty to Chintapally and misusing his position as the High Court Judge of Andhra Pradesh to use the subordinate judiciary to victimise the Dalit judge…”
# “That he possesses wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income… did not declare his assets to the Chief Justice and to the public in violation of the full court resolution of 1997.”
According to the notice, the junior civil judge, S Rama Krishna, was allegedly assaulted and called names by Reddy and his brother, Pawan Kumar Reddy, when he refused to remove the name of Reddy’s brother from a dying declaration. The dying declaration of a servant employed with Reddy’s brother was recorded by Krishna in 2012, in which the victim accused Reddy’s brother of setting him on fire “for not agreeing to sign on a blank paper.”
Sources said floor leaders of various parties handed over the notice to Ansari. Asked why the MPs had decided to take up the issue which happened in 2012, an MP said the affected party had approached the High Court and the Supreme Court and even secured some RTI documents, but decided to approach the MPs as he did not get justice. “He met the members and told his side of the story…they are convinced now,” he said.
The petition says the Dalit judge was victimised after the dying declaration was recorded. It says he was first transferred from Rayachoty before completion of his stipulated tenure, and thereafter placed under suspension based on an anonymous complaint regarding corruption allegations against him.
The copies of various complaints made by the district court judge to the police, High Court vigilance registrar, Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and to the Chief Justice of India have been attached with the notice as annexures.
As per the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, a complaint against a Judge has to be made through a resolution either by 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 Rajya Sabha members. After the MPs submit the motion, the presiding officer constitutes a three-member committee comprising two Judges — one from the Supreme Court and one Chief Justice of a High Court if the complaint is against a HC Judge; and two Supreme Court Judges if the complaint is against a sitting Judge of the apex court — and a jurist to probe the complaint and determine if it is a case fit for initiating the process of impeachment.