VIJAYAWADA: Justice Rakesh Kumar, senior judge of the High Court, on Wednesday expressed displeasure over the Supreme Court Collegium’s recommendation to transfer Chief Justice JK Maheswari to Sikkim, observing that “transfer of High Court Judges or its Chief Justices may reflect some transparency and for betterment or upliftment of the administration of justice. After all, they are also holding Constitutional post like member of Hon’ble Supreme Court Collegium.”
Justice Kumar, who is due to retire shortly, penned a strongly-worded judgement dismissing a petition filed by the government seeking his recusal in a case pertaining to the auction of government lands as part of Mission Build AP.
While rejecting the recusal plea, Justice Kumar directed that contempt proceedings be initiated against Pravin Kumar, Special Officer, Mission Build AP, for filing “untenable and malicious” petition and ordered that a criminal complaint be filed against him for perjury.
Referring to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s controversial letter to the Chief Justice of India complaining of interference in the functioning of the High Court by a sitting Supreme Court judge, Justice Rakesh Kumar said he was not aware if any contempt proceeding was initiated against him but the fact remains that he succeeded in getting undue advantage at the present moment. “People may draw an inference as if after the so-called letter of Hon’ble Chief Minister, the two Chief Justices, i.e., Chief Justice of High Court for the State of Telangana and Chief Justice of High Court of AP have been transferred,” he observed.
He reasoned that because of the transfer of the Chief Justice, “naturally, the cases pending in the Court of Special Judge for CBI cases in Hyderabad against Jagan may be delayed” and the “State government may get undue benefit.”
Pointing out that hearing on the Amaravati farmers’ issue by a bench headed by the Chief Justice was stopped soon after the collegium’s recommendation, Justice Rakesh Kumar opined that there is every likelihood that some time may be consumed in reconstitution of the Bench and when hearing resumes afresh.
In conclusion, he admitted many of his observations may not be in consonance with the “technicality”, but claimed he was constrained to record the facts as his impartiality was questioned by the government.
Justice Rakesh Kumar had earlier served in the Patna High Court where he ordered a CBI probe into alleged corruption in the lower judiciary and created a stir alleging corruption in the High Court was an open secret. He was thereafter transferred to the Andhra Pradesh High Court in October 2019.