Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister (CM) YS Jaganmohan Reddy filed an affidavit before the Chief Justice of India (CJI), SA Bobde in which he reiterated his allegations against Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice NV Ramana.
Reddy had earlier written a letter to CJI Bobde detailing his allegations against the judges.
The affidavit was filed after the office of CJI asked Reddy to make his complaint “on oath”, sources close to the team of the Chief Minister.
Complaint on oath essentially means stating complaint in an affidavit so that the complainant can be held accountable if the allegations are proven to be false.
According to certain newspaper reports, CJI Bobde has sought Justice Ramana’s response to the allegations made against him.
However, sources close to the CM’s office did not confirm this development.
A source close to the Chief Minister’s team, told that “he cannot deny the fact that Justice Ramana might have been asked for a response” and that these are all “informal procedures which are taking place.”
Chief Justice JK Maheshwari is learnt to have sent a voluminous response running into 300 pages to CJI Bobde answering the allegations against him.
Reddy’s affidavit, it is learnt, reproduced verbatim all allegations made in the letter including those against sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice NV Ramana.
Reddy in his letter sent to CJI Bobde in October, had accused Justice NV Ramana of managing appointments and roster at the Andhra Pradesh High Court to favour the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
Reddy alleged that Justice Ramana played a crucial role in swaying judicial appointments in the State courts, with a view to swing decisions in favour of TDP leaders who are facing multiple corruption charges.
The Chief Minister claimed that his government established through a probe that former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and many others associated with his party had amassed “huge wealth” by “illegal means”.
Reddy accused Justice Ramana of sharing a close relationship with the former TDP Chief Minister.
In his letter to Chief Justice Bobde, Reddy cited instances of how Naidu was allegedly scuttling investigations against TDP leaders using “nexus” with “judges of the High Court” and TDP leaders.
Reddy’s note alleged that Justice Ramana helped the Naidu regime handpick six out of an eleven-member panel of members from the High Court bar and promoted them as judges.
Reddy also alleged that Ramana was influencing “few judges” of the High Court citing the specific instance of how former Chief Justice JK Maheshwari passed an order staying the investigation into Amaravati land scam in which daughters of Justice Ramana had allegedly benefited.
This attack by the Chief Minister eventually led to a strongly worded order by the Andhra Pradesh High Court which came down on the State government for what it termed as attempts by the Reddy regime to undermine the High Court.
In the order authored by Justice Rakesh Kumar, who retired from office on December 31, the High Court also took exception to the way the Supreme Court Collegium recommended the transfer two High Court Chief Justices – Justice RS Chauhan of Telangana High Court and Justice JK Maheshwari of Andhra Pradesh High Court.
The Court noted that transfer recommendations came immediately after Reddy wrote the letter to CJI Bobde criticising the functioning of AP High Court.
The Collegium recommendations meant that the CM got what he wanted because the High Court was seized of the issue relating to speeding up hearing in criminal cases against MPs/ MLAs and a slew of such cases are pending against YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the High Court said.
Justice Kumar did not hold back in accusing the State government of interfering with the functioning of other Constitutional institutions.
“Firstly, attack was made on Legislative Council, thereafter another Constitutional body, i.e., State Election Commission; and now the High Court of Andhra Pradesh and even the Supreme Court is under attack by persons, who are in power,” the judgment read.
Meanwhile, the Central government acted swiftly to clear the Collegium recommendations for transfer of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court Chief Justices.