HC digs into closed cases against CM

The unprecedented suo motu action was based on the recommendation of the high court’s administrative committee.

Published: 24th June 2021 09:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th June 2021 09:42 AM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: The AP High Court has registered 11 suo motu revision petitions on the closure of cases, pertaining to certain comments made by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy when he was in the Opposition, by lower courts. Justice Kanneganti Lalitha, who heard the petitions Wednesday, however, refrained from issuing notices to police, original petitioners, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy and others, who were made respondents, following strong objections from Advocate General Subramanyam Sriram.

The unprecedented suo motu action was based on the recommendation of the high court’s administrative committee. When he was in the Opposition in 2016, YSRC chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy made certain comments against the then chief minister and TDP supremo Nara Chandrababu Naidu and the alleged Amaravati land scam. Subsequently, a few cases were booked against him in Anantapur, and Guntur districts. Police, who looked into the same, filed final reports reportedly in the absence of actionable evidence. The petitioners too reportedly informed the magistrate courts concerned they had no objection for closure of the cases. Following this, the lower courts had closed the cases. The high court’s administrative committee found fault with it and took an ‘administrative’ decision to take up the issue suo motu. 

Appearing for the State government, Advocate General Sriram argued that the high court cannot take up ‘administrative’ suo motu action using its powers under Sections 397, 401, 482 and 483 of the CrPC. He said it’s the first time in the history of judiciary that suo motu action was being taken based on an administrative decision.

The Advocate General submitted that the high court registry had not informed them of the circumstances under which the step was taken. “We have asked the registrar (judicial) the basis for taking this action. He merely replied it was based on the decision of the administrative committee without sharing the panel’s report,” Sriram said, adding they had every right to know the contents of the report. He insisted that no notice be served till such details were handed over to them. 

Earlier when the hearing began, the judge sought to issue notices to the respondents inviting spirited arguments from Sriram. The Advocate General explained he had consulted eminent jurists to know if this kind of action had ever been taken and received a reply in the negative. 

“If the high court had taken a legal view on the administrative committee’s report.... it could have been a different matter. But here, the court’s action is contrary to that and cannot stand legal scrutiny,” he opined. He also argued that the high court move was against the Supreme Court’s judgments. Sriram brought to the notice of the judge that in a particular case last year, Justice Rakesh Kumar (since retired) had made inappropriate comments against Jagan Mohan Reddy and cited cases against him, including the suo motu cases now taken up by the court. The Supreme Court has stayed Justice Rakesh Kumar’s verdict and the case is pending in the apex court. The high court’s suo motu action is in violation of the apex court orders, he said.

Further, he pointed out that the high court’s suo motu petitions contained no mention of the administrative committee. “Keeping the State government in the dark about the panel report causes it damage... however, the report details were published in a newspaper and a channel conducted a debate on it for 45 minutes. It appears the channel and the paper had access to the report,” he said.After hearing the arguments, the judge deferred the hearing to Friday.


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