Supreme Court judge U U Lalit on Monday recused himself from hearing pleas seeking action against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jaganmohan Reddy for levelling allegations against the judiciary.
“I have difficulties. As a lawyer, I had represented one of the parties. I will pass an order for it to be listed before a Bench without me,” Justice Lalit said, reported news agency PTI.
A bench comprising justices Lalit, Vineet Saran and S Ravindra Bhat was to hear three petitions seeking various reliefs against Reddy. The pleas alleged that Reddy not only wrote a letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) S A Bobde levelling allegations against the judiciary but also held a press conference in which false statements were made.
In an unprecedented move, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has written to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, alleging that Justice N V Ramana — next in line to be the CJI — “has been influencing the sittings of the (Andhra Pradesh) High Court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges”.
The Chief Minister’s eight-page letter refers to Justice Ramana’s alleged “proximity” to TDP leader and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and an Anti-Corruption Bureau investigation into “questionable transactions of land” involving two daughters of Justice Ramana and others in Amaravati, before it was declared the site for the new capital of the state.
Dated October 6, the letter was released to the media in Hyderabad Saturday evening by Ajeya Kallam, Principal Advisor to the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister.
Last week, Attorney General K K Venugopal declined a request to reconsider his decision refusing consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Jagan but said that that it is “open to the Supreme Court to take up the matter of contempt suo motu as provided by the Contempt of Courts Act” since “the very crux of the alleged contempt lies in the contents of the letter written by” Reddy to the CJI.
(With inputs from PTI)