AG denies nod to contempt case against Andhra CM
Attorney General KK Venugopal has refused to grant consent for initiating contempt proceedings against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy over his letter to Chief Justice of India (CJI) making wild allegations against the second most senior judge of the Supreme Court, Justice NV Ramana -- although he agreed that the duos conduct was “contumacious” and that the timing was “suspect”.
The demand to initiate contempt came from BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay who wanted action against Reddy and his Principal Advisor Ajeya Kallam. Upadhyay in his letter to Venugopal, referred to the contents of a letter written by Reddy to CJI SA Bobde on October 6, in which he accused Justice Ramana of working against his government.
Upadhyay mentioned that the Andhra Pradesh CM is an accused in at least 31 cases concerning offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act pending before the special court in Telangana. The contents of the letter were released to the media by Kallam in a press conference on October 10.
The government’s chief law officer’s decision was driven by the fact that the matter is already before the Chief Justice of India. Venugopal said: “Prima facie, the conduct of the said persons is contumacious. However, what has to be noted is, that the entire case of contempt arises out of the letter dated October 6 written by the CM directly to the CJI and the subsequent press conference held by Sh Kallam. The CJI is therefore seized of the matter... it would not be appropriate for me to deal with the matter.”
Upadhyay in his letter addressed to AG had said, “the timing of the letter, the contents of the same, the rush to spill it to the public while the matter was pending with the Chief Justice and the separate Statement read out by Sh Kallam make it manifestly clear that this was done to interfere with the course of justice and lower the authority of the Court.” He referred to a PIL filed by him pending with the bench headed by Justice Ramana where orders were recently passed to fast-track criminal trials against all sitting and former legislators (MPs and MLAs).
“I am of the opinion that the timing itself of the letter, as well as it being placed in the public domain through a press conference could certainly be said to be suspect...,” Venugopal agreed.