Updated: March 25, 2021 3:15:03 am
The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a complaint by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy against Justice N V Ramana, who is next in line to be Chief Justice of India, after an in-house inquiry.
A statement issued by the court said that “a complaint dated 6th October, 2020 sent by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to the Supreme Court was dealt with under the In-House Procedure and the same, on due consideration, stands dismissed”.
The communication added that “all the matters dealt with under the In-House Procedure being strictly confidential in nature, are not liable to be made public”.
The announcement came on the day Chief Justice of India S A Bobde recommended Justice Ramana as his successor in the post. CJI Bobde retires on April 23.
Chief Minister Reddy had written to CJI Bobde, alleging that Justice Ramana “has been influencing the sittings of the (Andhra Pradesh) High Court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges”.
The eight-page letter referred to Justice Ramana’s alleged “proximity” to opposition politicians and an Anti-Corruption Bureau investigation into “questionable transactions of land” involving some kin and others in Amaravati, before it was declared the site for the new capital of the state.
Reddy’s letter to the CJI came at a time when he was facing rising legal heat, as a petition seeking the fast-tracking of pending criminal cases against sitting and former legislators had been listed before a Bench headed by Justice Ramana.
Indeed, 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 very next day, on October 10, 2020, the CM’s Principal Advisor Ajeya Kallam released the CM’s letter to the media in Hyderabad.
The case against Reddy goes back to August 10, 2011, when the Andhra Pradesh High Court directed the CBI to inquire into allegations of corruption and misappropriation of funds in the late Dr Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s government in a petition filed by Congress MLA P Shankar Rao.
Justice Ramana never reacted publicly to the controversy. But in September 2020, speaking at the launch of a book by former Supreme Court judge Justice R Banumathi, he said: “As judges are self-restrained from speaking out in their own defence, they are now being construed as soft targets for criticism. This issue is further complicated by the proliferation of social media and technology, wherein judges are becoming victims of juicy gossip and slanderous social media posts.”
On October 17, after the controversy erupted, Justice Ramana, while speaking at a condolence meeting for former Supreme Court judge (Late) Justice A R Lakshmanan said: “There are innumerable qualities that a person needs to live what can be called a good life: humility, patience, kindness, a strong work ethic and the enthusiasm to constantly learn and improve oneself. Most importantly, particularly for a judge, one must be steadfast in holding on to their principles and be fearless in their decisions. It is an important quality for a judge to withstand all pressures and odds and to stand up bravely against all obstacles.”