Law students demand action against Andhra CM Jagan for 'maligning' SC judge
19 October 2020
Around 100 law students from all over the country have written to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) requesting him to take strict action against Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jaganmohan Reddy for his alleged hate campaign against the second senior-most judge of the Supreme Court Justice NV Ramana.
The Andhra CM has undermined the independence of the judiciary by his contemptuous conduct against a senior Judge of the country’s apex court, laying asunder laid-down procedures under the Constitution, the law students pointed out in their letter to Chief Justice of India S A Bobde.
In the letter, presented as a petition by advocate Utsav Bains, said that under no circumstance can we let the independence of the judiciary be compromised and added that no politician in power can be allowed to bring the administration of justice in complete disrepute with impunity.
The Constitution has provided a sitting chief minister with ample avenues to redress grievances, if any, and has no right to question the integrity of a sitting judge.
Chief ministers have no extra constitutional authority over courts and the Andhra Pradesh chief minister has intentionally ignored the laid-down procedure under the Constitution and committed a grave and serious attack on the independence of the judiciary, which was contemptuous in nature, says the petition.
"These things cannot be ignored and if we remained silent years from now, our silence would be seen as complete surrender of the institution of the Supreme Court to a politician in power and will also lead to constitutional anarchy and legal chaos," the letter said.
The law students, in the letter, stated that there is a need to differentiate between constructive criticism and smear campaigns run on social media platforms with ulterior motives.
"The law students also cited examples of rape threats to women on Twitter and the recent rape threats to the child of MS Dhoni and said that the misuse of social media needs to be checked at the earliest," the letter said.
"If the faith of the common man is eroded then all is lost for the institution of the Supreme Court and that vested interests are wrongfully eroding the faith of the common man in the institution of judiciary by misusing social media," it added.
The representation has been submitted to Chief Justice SA Bobde with a request to initiate contempt proceedings against Jaganmohan Reddy and to formulate a mechanism to deal with smear campaigns against Supreme Court judges on social media platforms.
Faced with a smear campaign let loose by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, Justice NV Ramana on Saturday said a judge needed to be fearless, withstand pressures and stand up against all obstacles.
Justice Ramana, who is likely to be the next Chief Justice of India after Justice SA Bobde demits office in April 2021, said, “The greatest strength of the judiciary is the faith of people in it. Faith, confidence and acceptability cannot be commanded, they have to be earned.”
The greatest strength of the judiciary is the faith of people in it. Faith, confidence and acceptability cannot be commanded, they have to be earned.
“It is an important quality for a judge to withstand all pressures,” Justice Ramana said in an online condolence meeting to pay homage to former top court Judge AR Lakshmanan, who died on 27 August.
“There are innumerable qualities that a person needs to live what can be called a good life: humility, patience, kindness, a strong work ethic and the enthusiasm to constantly learn and improve oneself. Most importantly, particularly for a judge, one must be steadfast in holding on to his principles and fearlessness in decisions,” he said.
In his letter to CJI Bobde, Reddy had alleged, “Justice Ramana has been influencing the sittings of the high court, including the roster of a few judges and instances of a few matters important to Telugu Desam have been allotted to a few judges.”
The contents of the letter were made public at a press conference addressed by the Principal Adviser to the AP Chief Minister last week.
Last month, Justice Ramana had expressed serious concern over judges becoming soft targets of criticism and subject of juicy gossip on social media.
Quoting Justice Lakshmanan, Justice Ramana said, “We, the members of the judicial hierarchy, have inherited the legacy of dedicated collective endeavour by the Bench and the Bar in establishing an unbroken tradition of high efficiency, perfect integrity and fearless independence.”