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A-G declines consent for contempt proceedings against Jagan Reddy, aide

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. File   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal on Monday declined consent to initiate contempt proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and his Principal Adviser Ajeya Kallam.

Also read: Petition in Supreme Court seeks notice against A.P. CM Jagan Mohan Reddy

Mr. Venugopal, however, said the “timing itself” of the Chief Minister’s letter to the Chief Justice of India, containing allegations against Supreme Court judge N.V. Ramana and the subsequent public release of the document could “certainly said to be suspect”.

The Attorney-General was responding to a petition filed by Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay for his prior consent under the Contempt of Court Act to initiate proceedings against Mr. Reddy and Mr. Kallam.

Mr. Venugopal said Mr. Reddy’s letter on October 6 and its release by Mr. Kallam at a press conference held on October 10 was “suspect” because they came “in the background of the order passed by Justice Ramana dated September 16, directing pending prosecutions of elected representatives to be taken up and disposed of expeditiously”.

In this context, the Attorney-General referred to Mr. Upadhyay’s statement that Mr. Reddy had 31 criminal cases against him. “In this background, prima facie, the conduct of the said persons is contumacious,” Mr. Venugopal said.

He said he found the letter to contain “objectionable statements”.

“I have carefully gone through the contents of your petition. I find that the objectionable statements have been made in a letter dated October 6 written by the Chief Minister to the Chief Justice of India,” Mr. Venugopal noted.

‘CJI aware of matter’

The top law officer said Chief Justice Sharad A. Bobde was already “seized of the matter”. Mr. Venugopal said the letter was sent to the CJI directly and, therefore, the latter was “well aware of the nature of the allegations contained in the letter”.

“Hence, it would not be appropriate for me to deal with the matter,” he wrote.

It was Mr. Upadhyay’s PILs against the criminalisation of politics and the long-pending trials against legislators that had led the top court to order the setting up of special courts to try MPs and MLAs expeditiously. The Bench led by Justice Ramana is presently monitoring the process.

Also read: Advocates slam Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter to CJI

In his letter for consent to the Attorney-General, Mr. Upadhyay said Mr. Reddy’s letter was a “dishonest and mischievous attempt to pressurise the judiciary”.

“The letter was consciously released in public domain not only to derail above stated PILs but also to intimidate judicial proceedings. Mr. Reddy is not only indulging in bench-hunting but also wants the court to stop hearing these PILs. This is not a silly mischievous deceitful act but deliberate fraudulent calculated attempts to not only undermine apex court but also to terrorise the judiciary,” Mr. Upadhyay wrote.

He had said the actions of Mr. Reddy and Mr. Kallam “scandalise the authority of the Supreme Court and the High Court as well as interfering with the course of judicial proceedings and the administration of justice”.

“Even worse, if this kind of precedent were allowed, political leaders would start making reckless allegations against judges who do not decide cases in their favour and this trend would soon spell the death knell of an independent judiciary,” Mr. Upadhyay said.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 1:21:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/a-g-declines-consent-for-contempt-proceedings-against-ap-cm-aide/article33003865.ece

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