The Supreme Court today stayed an order passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court which questioned the wisdom of the legislature, the government, the Chief Minister, and advocates representing the State.
The Bench of Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and Justices AS Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian stayed the order after hearing submissions by Senior Advocate Sajan Poovayya, appearing for the State.
The High Court order was passed on December 30, 2020 after the government filed an application seeking recusal of the judge on the ground that he had prejudged the issue even without hearing the State.
The application was filed on the basis of the following oral observations made by the judge during the hearing of the case:
“How could the Government auction the properties of the State, had Government become bankrupt to auction Government properties, we will declare there is break down of constitutional machinery in the State and hand over administration to the Central Government.”
In its plea before the Supreme Court YS Jaganmohan Reddy government maintained that since the judge indicated its predisposition to the case, it was constrained to file an application seeking recusal of the judge.
In its order, the High Court had also called for an explanation from the Chief Minister as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against him, even as it claimed that the statements made in the application were untrue.
Seeking a direction to set aside the order, the government states that instead of addressing the issue at hand,
“The High Court had chosen to travel completely beyond the scope of the lis and has proceeded to castigate the wisdom of the legislature, the Government, the Chief Minister as well as the advocates representing the Government.”
“These observations have been made on the basis of the ‘research’ that the Hon’ble Judge claims to have done after ‘becoming curious to know about the Hon’ble Chief Minister,” the special leave petition goes on to read.
The appeal further states that the High Court order casts aspersions on the Supreme Court Collegium on the mere ipse dixit of the High Court Judge.
“The observations made in the order are completely uncalled for and grossly misconceived and are therefore liable to be set aside forthwith,” reads the plea.
Another point raised is that the same judge in October 2020 posed a question as to why the Court should not declare that there is a constitutional breakdown of State machinery.
However, upon a challenge in Supreme Court, the said order was stayed after Chief Justice of India SA Bobde called it “disturbing”.
“It is with extreme pain that the State has taken the arduous decision to controvert the statement made by the Judge. This State has been burdened with this unceremonious task only in view of the nature of the impugned order, which, it is most respectfully submitted, is completely unwarranted, unprecedented and therefore, completely unsustainable,” reads the plea.
The judiciary and the executive in the State have been at loggerheads for some time, with the Supreme Court being approached for a number of issues, including the construction of guest houses and the Amravati land scam.
In relation to the latter issue, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy even made allegations against the Chief Justice of the High Court and sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice NV Ramana. He had recently filed an affidavit before CJI Bobde reiterating his allegations.
A petition was also filed in the apex court seeking the removal of Reddy from the post of Chief Minister for making the allegations.