Jethmalani red-faced over AP judge appointment
Having appointed Justice NV Ramana as a judge of Andhra Pradesh high court, senior advocate Ram Jethmalani on Friday told the Supreme Court he was willing to “undo” what was done in his tenure as the law minister.
Jethmalani is representing the petitioner who has moved the SC seeking Justice Ramana’s removal as he was facing a criminal case at the time of his elevation to the HC on June 27, 2000.
The twist in the case came when the bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai told Jethmalani indirectly that Ramana was appointed during his tenure.
“Mr Jethmalani you have an illustrious career spreading over several decades. You had held number of posts and conducted several cases about which you are also not aware. In this case, the collegium had twice rejected the name of this particular judge but it was at the instance of the then law minister that the appointment was made," the bench said.
To this Jethmalani responded: "Your lordships are trying to say that I was the law minister at that time. Your lordship can suggest me what can be done to undo it." He added if some wrong had been done, it could be undone too.
Agreeing to scrutinise Justice Ramana's appointment, the bench directed Attorney General to submit all documents pertaining to his elevation. It also ordered the Guntur district court to file details of the case, which was going on against the judge.
Case against Justice Ramana relates to the offence of rioting and destruction of public property in 1981 when he was a student of Nagarjuna University.
Two years later when he enrolled at the bar on February 10, 1983 he was required to make a mandatory disclosure about any pending criminal proceedings, to which he replied in the negative. The petitioner alleged that the trial proceeded against the judge before a Guntur court that admitted a chargesheet against him in October 1983. In 2000, Ramana was declared a proclaimed offender and a month later he was elevated to the HC.