What the hell is going on in this country?" an anguished Justice Sudershan B Reddy had asked the solicitor general, recently. An otherwise quiet Judge, perturbed over large-scale tax violations by those who have stashed black money in foreign accounts, has taken the government to task.
The government is having a tough time defending itself in the case. It was at the insistence and warning of Justice Reddy that the enforcement directorate (ED) took up the case of stud farm owner Hassan Ali seriously. His bench also passed the unprecedented order of cancelling a bail granted by a sessions court and remanding an accused to the agency's custody. Justice Reddy's bench had held former telecom minister A Raja's decision to bring forward the cut-off date while allocating 2G spectrum as illegal. He had upheld the Delhi High Court order criticising the government approach on the issue.
His ever-smiling visage and the patient hearing that he gives to every advocate appearing before his bench make him very popular with the lawyers. "Even if a matter is dismissed by him, one doesn't feel bad because he does it with such warmth and affection," says a Supreme Court advocate.
Born in an agricultural family in the Rangareddy district of Andhra Pradesh, he obtained a law degree in 1971 and became the judge of Andhra Pradesh high court by 1995.
Justice Reddy's serious approach to the problems of the Chhattisgarh tribals has forced the state government to reconsider its decision to support the Salwa Judum, allegedly meant to provide self-defence training to tribals against Naxal attacks.
When the bench learnt about the pitiful conditions of the tribals, it advised the government to provide them an opportunity to earn and live with dignity. Against the wishes of the state, Justice Reddy has already expressed support to the petitioner's demand for a high-powered committee to monitor the rehabilitation of tribals.