Twelve years after an advocate became a judge at the Andhra Pradesh high court, his past has come to haunt him. The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a petition seeking Justice Nuthalapati Venkataramana's removal on account of alleged offences committed before his enrolment as an advocate.
A bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai said it would hear the public interest litigation (PIL), which raises serious allegations against the sitting judge, on July 6 - once the court re-opens after the vacations. Senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and Shanti Bhushan appeared for the petitioners, two lawyers from the Andhra Pradesh high court bar.
The petitioners said that at the time of his elevation, Justice Venkataramana was a declared proclaimed offender. However, a year later, the cases against him and the other accused were withdrawn following an application moved by the state.
In their petition, the duo said they had decided to file the PIL after no action was taken on a complaint written to Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia and law minister Salman Khurshid on January 8, 2012. "Three months having passed and no appropriate action having been taken, the present writ petition is being filed in the interest of the fair administration of justice," the petitioners stated, adding that the appointment was in violation of the constitution. "It is submitted that once a chargesheet had been filed and the court has treated the respondent number 3 (sitting HC judge) as a proclaimed absconder on May 8, 2000, barely over a month later, he is appointed as a judge of the High Court. If such an appointment were permitted to stand, it would send out an entirely wrong message to the legal community," the petition stated.