Legal Correspondent

Publication of news report wherein petitioner made derogatory remarks about the integrity of judges cited

HYDERABAD: The writ petition challenging the constitutional validity of the action of the State government in cancelling the land allotment made to IMG Bharata by the TDP government will be heard by a Division Bench of the High Curt to be freshly constituted by the Chief Justice.

The Bench comprising Justice Raghu Ram and Justice Sanjay Kumar, which heard the arguments for over a month, on Friday ‘recused’ itself from the case citing the publication of a news story wherein the petitioner made some derogatory remarks about the integrity of the judges.

State action challenged

A writ petition was filed challenging the Congress government’s action in cancelling the allotment of land to IMG Bharata for establishing sports facilities. The Bench comprising Justice G. Raghuram and Justice P.V.Sanjay Kumar reserved the judgement after hearing the arguments. Billy Rao, the writ petitioner, allegedly made some remarks about the judgment, which were carried in Saakshi newspaper and TV channel. The Bench initiated the suo motu contempt case against the person responsible for publication of the news item in the newspaper and transmission of the news on the TV channel, Billy Rao, and then transferred the case to another Bench.

On Friday, the Bench delivered a short written order. It took note of the fact that Ahobala Rao @ Billy Rao, who filed the petition, was seen allegedly in a sting operation speaking (with an alcoholic beverage container in front of him) about how he was ‘managing’ the judgment.

The same was reported in Saakshi.

The Bench said, “In the context of newspaper reports and the telecast, the maxim that justice must not only be done but manifestly appear to have been done would perhaps be imperilled, regardless of the outcome of the writ petition, if the Bench passes the judgment.”