Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s letter to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde stating serious allegations against Justice NV Ramana, who might be in line to become the next CJI, has perhaps put the incumbent CJI in a position no other head of India’s judiciary has ever had to go through. Unlike anonymous complaints from the masses against members of the Indian judiciary, this one has been written by someone holding an integral constitutional position against another person, who also holds a similar post.
From what we can predict, Chief Justice Bobde might have no option but to take cognizance of the letter one way or the other, especially as the matter is now in the spotlight, thanks to the media after the letter was shared with the media by the chief minister’s principal adviser Ajeya Kallam recently. What we now might look at is if the Collegium system of appointing judges leading to corruption in the Indian Judiciary and giving rise to more such controversies?
The letter claims
The letter, aside from going in detail into a land bargain in the structure of the state capital Amaravati – in which a previous supporter general of the state and relatives of Justice Ramana have been charged – likewise claimed that the Supreme Court judge was meddling in the issues of the Andhra Pradesh High Court for previous Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu.
The veracity of these charges is as yet unconfirmed.
Nonetheless, the battle between Jagan Reddy and Justice Ramana brings up significant issues over the framework that has prompted such an encounter between two protected specialists, something that is exceptional. Previous adjudicators of High Courts said while an in-house investigation into the claims made by the central authority could uncover if there was any reality to them, the reality was that an individual who raised to the Supreme Court holds incredible force and impact over arrangements to their parent High Court and in the result on the working of the High Court itself.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy’s progressing fights in court took a startling turn with Reddy denouncing the Supreme Court’s Justice NV Ramana of endeavoring to destabilize and overturn the YSR Congress government in the state. The minister likewise alluded to Justice Ramana’s asserted “closeness” to TDP pioneer and previous CM N Chandrababu Naidu, and an Anti-Corruption Bureau test into “faulty exchanges of the land”, several reports said.
According to The Wire, the chief minister’s letter to the CJI was revealed by Ajeya Kallam, Chief Advisor to Government of Andhra Pradesh, in a public interview in Vijayawada recently. The duplicates of the letter with its annexure were later coursed to media associations. In the letter, Reddy has referenced “occasions of how matters essential to Telugu Desam Party have been apportioned to a couple of Honorable Judges”, and has point by point this in an annexure. He brought to the CJI’s notification how the High Court Chief Justice Maheswari had remained further test on an FIR recorded by the Anti-Corruption Bureau against previous Advocate General Dammalapati Srinivas and 12 others in the Amaravati trick and even choked the media from covering the substance of the FIR. The letter states “since the time the YSR Congress Party picked up power in May 2019 and requested an investigation into all the arrangements made by the system of N Chandrababu Naidu from June 2014 to May 2019, Justice NV Ramana began affecting the course of organization of equity in the state”.
He further asked the CJI to find a way to guarantee that the express legal executive’s nonpartisanship is kept up. Simply a month ago, Justice Ramana while tending to a group of people at a book dispatch, said judges are presently being interpreted as easy prey for analysis and are turning out to be “casualties of delicious tattle and libellous online media posting.” Justice Ramana, the second senior-most adjudicator of the apex court after the CJI, said that judges need to adjust their public activity so as to be autonomous.
Is the Collegium system corrupting the Indian Judiciary?
In India, judges select different appointed authorities. This cycle was developed through the 1980s and 1990s in what is currently together called the three appointed authorities cases.
The collegium framework – in which a board of sitting adjudicators settles on legal arrangements – was a consequence of the abundances of the Indira Gandhi government previously and during the Emergency during the 1970s, when the Center meddled in legal arrangements and even prevented decided from turning out to be boss judges. Resulting Supreme Court decisions seriously diminished the part of the leader in the arrangements, to the degree that if the collegium repeats a proposal, the Center has no alternative except for to advance it to the President for his endorsement. In the collegium framework, the five senior-most adjudicators of the Supreme Court conclude who to choose as a Supreme Court judge. On account of High Courts, a collegium of the three senior-most Supreme Court makes a decision about accepting an approach proposals made by the collegium of the High Court. The suggestion of a name for the situation of a High Court judge is typically done by the main equity of the High Court. Be that as it may, as per the update of methods for the arrangement to the High Courts, the main clergyman can likewise prescribe names for height to the High Court.
In the end, the Supreme Court collegium of three judges, including the chief justice of India, will decide on the recommendations forwarded to it.
However, the procedures also state that the collegium can take the opinion of judges in the Supreme Court who are familiar with the affairs of the particular High Court. The procedure says:
“The Chief Justice of India and the collegium of two Judges of the Supreme Court would take into account the views of the Chief Justice of the High Court and of those Judges of the High Court who have been consulted by the Chief Justice as well as views of those Judges in the Supreme Court who are conversant with the affairs of that High Court. It is of no consequence whether that High Court is their parent High Court or they have functioned in that High Court on transfer.”
This cycle of counselling an appointed authority familiar with the undertakings of the specific High Court isn’t in the Constitution yet was created as a cycle by the Supreme Court itself.
This, previous adjudicators stated, makes any appointed authority raised to the Supreme Court profoundly persuasive in the High Court from which they hail. It is this cycle that can be taken a gander at as a contributory factor to discussions, for example, the one at present happening between Jagan Reddy and Justice Ramana.
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