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Attorney General declines to reconsider refusal to initiate contempt proceedings against Jagan Mohan Reddy

Venugopal said not only is he required to consider whether “particular statements or conduct will be prima facie contumacious” but also whether it is in “larger public interest” to place such matters before the Supreme Court as a contempt petition.  

SNS | New Delhi |

The Attorney General KK Venugopal on Sunday has declined to reconsider his refusal to initiate contempt proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy over the allegations against Supreme Court.

This is the second time that the AG has refused such permission.

Earlier on November 2, Venugopal had refused permission to Advocate Ashwini Upadhyay to initiate contempt proceedings in the matter.

However, he said that his refusal to give consent cannot stop Upadhyay from approaching the court, which can suo motu initiate contempt proceedings against the Chief Minister.

“Since the letter was addressed directly to the Chief Justice of India, the CJI is seized of the case and it would not be appropriate for me to deal with it,” the Attorney General said last Monday.

Upadhyay, however, had written again to the Attorney General, asking him to reconsider his decision.

In his response, Venugopal said not only is he required to consider whether “particular statements or conduct will be prima facie contumacious” but also whether it is in “larger public interest” to place such matters before the Supreme Court as a contempt petition.

In a letter dated October 6, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy had written to the Chief Justice of India SA Bobde alleging his immediate predecessor Justice N V Ramana of “influencing the sittings of the (Andhra Pradesh) High Court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges.”

CM has also referred, in his eight-page letter, to TDP leader and former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and an Anti-Corruption Bureau investigation into “questionable transactions of land” involving two daughters of Justice Ramana and others in Amaravati, before it was declared the site for the new capital of the state.

The letter was released to the media in Hyderabad on Saturday evening by Ajeya Kallam, Principal Advisor to the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister.

The letter gives examples of what the state government has called “judicial impropriety” including a gag order on media reporting, stopping of investigation in a case involving alleged land deals in which a former advocate general and daughter of the supreme court judge are accused of wrong-doing.

Last month, while speaking at the launch of a book by former Supreme Court judge Justice R Banumathi, Justice Ramana had said, “As judges are self-restrained from speaking out in their own defence, they are now being construed as soft targets for criticism. This issue is further complicated by the proliferation of social media and technology, wherein judges are becoming victims of juicy gossip and slanderous social-media posts.”

In the letter, Chief Minister has mentioned “instances of how matters important to Telugu Desam Party have been allocated to a few Honourable Judges, and has detailed this in an annexure.”

In the letter, CM has asked the Chief Justice of India to “consider initiating such steps as may be considered fit and proper to ensure that the state judiciary’s neutrality is maintained”.