The Supreme Court’s dismissal of Andhra Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s complaint against the Supreme Court judge, Justice N.V. Ramana, in an in-house procedure, comes a few months after Attorney General K. K. Venugopal declined consent to a plea to initiate contempt action against Mr. Reddy.
The top law officer and constitutional authority has, however, said it was “open” for the apex court to initiate suo motu contempt against the Chief Minister.
A few months ago, in November, the Attorney General had declined permission to a Supreme Court lawyer, advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, to initiate contempt proceedings against the Chief Minister for his October 6 letter of complaint.
Mr. Venugopal had then maintained that the Chief Justice of India was “seized” of the letter and it would be inappropriate on his part to grant consent and “preclude the determination of the Chief Justice of India” in the issue.
The Attorney General had concurred that the timing of Mr. Reddy’s letter was “suspect”. In this context, the Attorney-General had referred to Mr. Upadhyay’s statement that Mr. Reddy had 31 criminal cases against him.
Mr. Upadhyay had twice sought the Attorney General’s consent to file contempt proceedings against Mr. Reddy in the Supreme Court.
Mr. Upadhyay is the petitioner-in-person in a case seeking quick disposal of criminal cases against legislators across the country. He had alleged that Justice Ramana’s order on September 16 to try these cases expeditiously may have prompted Mr. Reddy to write the letter on October 6.
He had said that Mr. Reddy’s letter and its release to the media by the Chief Minister’s Principal Advisor Ajeya Kallam on October 10 amounted to contempt of court.