The Supreme Court on Thursday sought to distance itself from media reports about ‘in-house’ inquiries quoting it as the source of information, and said that the procedure of such inquiry, if any, is “wholly confidential” and the court “never releases information in matters incidental thereto”.
Although the communication from the top court did not say what report it was specifically referring to, the development comes amidst some reports claiming that Chief Justice of India S A Bobde held consultations with colleagues on a letter by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy complaining against senior SC judge, Justice N V Ramana, who is due to be next CJI, and some judges of Andhra Pradesh High Court.
“Media has recently been reporting about complaints making insinuations against members of the higher judiciary, and the action likely to be taken by the Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court’ is being quoted as the source of information,” a release issued by the court stated. “It is clarified once and for all that inquiries under the ‘in-house Procedure’ being totally and wholly confidential in nature. Supreme Court never releases information in matters incidental thereto.”
Reddy’s letter to the CJI came at a time the bench headed by Justice Ramana was hearing a plea seeking fast-tracking of criminal cases against sitting and former MPs and MLAs. It was after an order by this bench that proceedings against Reddy, in a disproportionate assets case, resumed in a CBI special court in Hyderabad on October 9, 2020.
The next day, the CM’s principal advisor Ajeya Kallam released Reddy’s letter to the CJI at a press conference.
Petitions seeking contempt of court proceedings for making public the letter are currently pending before the SC.
The SC follows an in-house procedure to look into complaints against judges.