Opinions and Legal Insights

Justice Ramana l’affaire Must be Inquired for the sake of Judiciary

This is for the first time that constitutional authority,  no less than the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Jagan Mohan Reddy has levelled direct allegations against another very high constitutional authority  NV Ramana, who is the second senior-most judge of the Supreme Court of India. Mr Reddy has not minced words and said that Justice Ramana has been acting against him and his government. Some judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court are not only in cahoots with Justice Ramana, but they are working at his instance to often put the government in a spot. As a result of it, the developmental works of his government are getting hampered. This is no longer an issue between two individuals but it is now a matter between the two rather all three pillars of democracy.

   Mr Jagan Reddy’s letter to the Chief Justice of India Justice AS Bobde against Justice Ramana, who is in the line to become the next Chief Justice of India, should not be consigned to the dustbin by dismissing as frivolous and baseless. It should be taken with all seriousness that it demands because it is the question of the integrity and majesty of the Judiciary. Mr Reddy has not written any anonymous letter in a surreptitious manner. He has said it publicly and the former Chief Secretary of the State, who is now an advisor to the Chief Minister has circulated it to the media and that is the reason that his letter has come into the public domain has assumed significance.

  One wishes that what Mr Reddy has said is found to be wrong, but can this matter be allowed to rest at that? Only a proper enquiry by some top judges and the at least two chief justices of the High-Courts should be formed to probe into the matter as that will restore the solid faith of the people in the judiciary.

  In fact, Justice Ramana should himself volunteer for an independent enquiry to come clean of all allegations. If the high-powered independent enquiry finds that allegations are wrong and motivated then the contempt of court proceedings must be initiated against Mr Reddy and the harshest punishment should be meted out to him and he should be declared unworthy of holding any post, be it elective or nominated. That will serve as a deterrent for others from making any allegations against any judge of the High Court or the Supreme Court.

   Trust and impartiality are the sine qua non of the judiciary and it should be saved and protected steadfastly by everyone but more so, by the judges themselves. It must begin right from the time of the selection and appointment of the judges. NJAC was a step forward in that direction for instilling confidence among the people about the impartial appointment of judges but that was spiked by the constitution bench of the Supreme Court.

  One fails to understand as to why many Bar Associations are bending backwards to trenchantly criticise Jagan Mohan Reddy. It defies all logic why anybody should be condemned without confronting him/her in an impartial enquiry.   The one-sided view is anathema to the judicial system and yet some Bar Associations are passing the judgments. It is unfair, to say the least. Therefore, in all fairness, Justice Ramana should himself keep away from judicial works and ask for the constitution of the independent enquiry committee, which should be asked to conduct and submit its report in a time frame.

This will go a long way in enhancing the prestige of the judiciary. Ethical values play an especially important role in the glory of a person and the profession. Justice bereft of morality is like a body without the soul, which should be burnt or buried.