Andhra Pradesh government on 10th October released a letter written by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Jagan Mohan Reddy to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, raising a few serious allegations on the second senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, NV Ramana. If the allegations do hold any amount of truth in them, it could mean serious problems for Justice Ramana as he is next in line to become the Chief Justice of India.
The letter talked in details about a particular case of land deal in the state capital of Amaravati, where the family members of Justice Ramana, along with another former advocate general of the state were painted in allegations. The letter also alleged the Supreme Court Judge of interfering and trying to influence the private state affairs of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in favour of former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
The allegations upon the SC Judge are still unverified, as of now no data is available to the public scrutiny on the contents of the FIR related to the land deal as mentioned in the letter, as the Andhra Pradesh High Court had issued a gag order in September against media coverage of the case, which is still applicable.
However, the allegations raises quite a few eyebrows as the legislature and the executive machinery of the state which are suppose to work together, according to the constitution. Cases such as these make the general public question the faith and trust they are meant to place on the authorities.
The former judges of the High Court have said that an in-house inquiry will be done to check the allegations made by the CM. They have also highlighted the fact a SC Judge, who holds such a powerful position could easily influence their parent high courts, in accordance to their functioning itself. They mentioned that the collegium system followed by the Supreme Court makes any judge elevated to the SC highly influencial in the High Court which they hailed from.
A former chief justice of the High Court earlier said, “The allegations made by the Chief Minister would have to be looked into by the in-house committee of judges.” The committee believes that even if the allegations made might hold political agendas of the state of Andhra Pradesh, a Chief Minister’s complaints cannot be treated casually as he are an elected leader and a de facto head of the executive.
The former justice also added that if allegations as such, of interference by a Supreme Court judge is to be avoided in the future, the procedure that allows for consultation with the judge from that particular High Court should be scrapped off. He went on to ask the judges in the collegiums to rescue themselves whenever appointments to the High Court from their state comes up before the Supreme Court panel, so as to work without any external manipulation. Further details on the case are awaited.