Justice Lalit recuses from hearing plea seeking removal of AP CM Jagan Reddy
New Delhi, Nov 16: Justice U U Lalit has recused himself from hearing the petitions that sought removal of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y S Jagan Reddy.
Two advocates had filed a petition seeking removal of Jagan for writing a letter making allegations against Justice N V Ramanna, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court.
While recusing, Justice Lalit said that he had appeared as lawyer for the parties earlier.
With Justice Lalit recusing, the file would go back to the Chief Justice of India, who will have to constitute a new Bench to hear the matter.
The chief minister wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), S A Bobde, in an unprecedented move alleging that the Andhra Pradesh High Court was being used to "destabilise and topple my democratically elected government."
Reddy requested the CJI to look into the matter and consider initiating steps "as may be considered fit and proper to ensure that the state judiciarys neutrality is maintained."
There was no immediate reaction from Supreme Court officials to the allegation.
The chief minister alleged the senior apex court judge had proximity to Chandrababu Naidu and that a "former judge of the honourable Supreme Court placed this fact on record." After his government initiated an inquiry into the actions of Naidu regime between 2014-19, he alleged, "it is now clear that the judge started influencing the course of administration of justice in the state..." Naming some high court judges, Reddy alleged they had a "nexus with the Supreme Court judge and the Telugu Desam Party and displayed animosity towards my government and me."
The Supreme Court judges influence was in the areas of "roster for sitting of the honourable Judges, whereby important matters of policy and protection for Chandrababu Naidus interests were posted before a few honourable judges," the chief minister alleged and referred to some orders to buttress his claims.
The chief minister's letter to the CJI was dated October 6 and his Principal Advisor Ajeya Kallam released it to the media here on Saturday night. He said it was sent on October 8 to the CJI.
The Telugu Desam Party rejected the allegation as a "deliberate conspiracy against the judiciary" and nothing could be more atrocious than this. The TDP said it was ''mudslinging'', ''ridiculous'' and only ''bravado'' intended to ''blackmail'' the lower judiciary as criminal cases against the chief minister were coming up for regular trial soon.
When persons or organisations aggrieved by the illegal and unconstitutional acts of your government seek redressal from courts and if the courts grant relief, how can you blame them, TDP politburo memberYanamala Ramakrishnudu said in a statement.
The letter also exposed Reddy''s ''grudge'' against Naidu, he claimed. The TDP leader asked why was the chief minister "so impatient" when appeals against the High Court orders were pending in the Supreme Court.