NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday rejected a plea by YSR Congress honorary chairperson YS Vijayamma for transferring the disproportionate assets case against Chandrababu Naidu to a high court other than the AP High Court.
Vijayamma, an MLA and mother of YSRC president Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy, had approached the apex court alleging that Naidu was manipulating court processes to see that the case is heard by a bench of his choice.
The SC bench of justices B S Chauhan and T S Thakur refused to entertain the plea on grounds that it would affect the morale of the judiciary and “involved the credibility of an institution.” Addressing Mukul Rohatgi, Vijayamma’s counsel, the bench said, “Mr Rohatgi, does it not reflect on the institution? The AP High Court is one of the seniormost high courts in the country. It will give an impression that there is not one bench there which can rise above political considerations.”
Rohtagi had argued that eight benches of the AP High Court had recused from hearing the case after Naidu deliberately engaged the services of certain advocates who were barred -- by a convention called the ‘not before me’ system -- from appearing before some judges.
This, the petition said, forced the judges to recuse themselves from the case.
Rohatgi said the AP High Court has a “not-before-me” system in which judges do not hear cases argued by some advocates owing to their personal acquaintance, relationship and other considerations. Naidu case, he said, engaged those very advocates.
Rohatgi’s the contention was disputed by counsels Harish Salve and Anil Divan appearing for some of the respondents who said there was no such recusal.
The apex court then said it would not be proper to pass any order as the case had already been heard by a bench of the High Court. It then asked Rohtagi to withdraw the petition.
The AP High Court had on December 13 stayed the CBI inquiry ordered by it into the alleged disproportionate assets of Naidu.