Andhra Pradesh Court rules against criticism of Judges

H.H. (Advocate) Suresh Kulkarni

1. Andhra Pradesh’s Christian Chief Minister badly thrashed his own party’s MP for opposing religious conversion

For the past 2-3 years, there has been confusion among political leaders in Andhra Pradesh. All disputes in this regard reached the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Therefore, these were discussed in the State for the past 2 years. Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy’s brother was the President and a senior official of Tirupati Balaji Devasthan. He had sold Balaji Temple’s gold. He was opposed by his party’s MP Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju. Apart from this, Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju also strongly opposed the religious conversion of Hindus by Christian priests in Andhra Pradesh. According to him, a Christian Chief Minister has given the clergy a free hand to convert. Since the Chief Minister is a Christian, the administration and the Police allow the clergy to convert freely. Therefore, Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju thinks that a large section of Hindu society is converting to Christianity. So, he opposed this conversion.

As a result of this opposition, relations of MPs with the Chief Minister got strained. Although Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju belonged to the ruling party, he was severely thrashed. Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju was so severely thrashed that he could not walk or get up due to his injuries. Criminal charges were registered against Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju. When it came time for him to appear in the Court, he could not even stand.

2. MLAs creating chaos in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly

In the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, the MLAs caused a great deal of chaos. They broke the chairs in the Assembly Hall and damaged Government property. As a result, they were suspended and criminal charges were filed against them. According to these MLAs, the Police do not have the authority to register offences against them.

According to Article 105 (2), 194 (2) of the Constitution, no offence can be registered against an elected MP or MLA during the working hours of the Legislative Assembly or in connection with the incident. During the same period, the Chief Minister, through his Government prosecutors, dropped criminal cases which had been filed against his close relatives through an application under Section 321 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

3. The Court granted bail to Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju after realising that he had been severely thrashed

The recent political developments in Andhra Pradesh and on the basis of the petitions filed in the Courts at various levels in the State, show that law and order are not in good shape. The Police system also works as expected by the rulers. Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju first requested the Court to admit him to the AIIMS hospital. This too was opposed by the Government. Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju then requested for admission to a good hospital. The Court accepted it. The matter came before High Court Justice Lalita Kaneganti. After Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju had been admitted to the hospital, the High Court first sought hospital documents to ascertain the severity of the thrashing. It came to be known that Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju had been severely thrashed by the Police. The Court then ruled in favour of Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju. In the same period, Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju applied for bail. The State Government tried hard to prevent him from obtaining bail; however, the High Court granted him bail. Here too, Justice Lalita Kaneganti was the officiating Judge. The State Government went to the Supreme Court for quashing the verdict of the High Court; however, the verdict was upheld even in the Supreme Court.

4. Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking registration of cases against people who thrashed him and the Police, and handing over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation

Kanumuri Raghuram Krishnam Raju filed another petition in the Supreme Court, demanding that a case be registered against the accused & the Police who had thrashed him and that the case be handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

All these petitions were heard and some judgements were passed. High Court Justice Kaneganti then directed the Court Registrar to prepare a Suo Moto petition against the withdrawal of all cases filed against the relatives of the Chief Minister in the lower Criminal Court. Justice Kaneganti admitted a ‘Revision Petition’ and directed the Registrar to resume hearing in those cases in the lower Courts. All the cases mentioned above were going against the Chief Minister or the Government. As a result, the Chief Minister was greatly disgraced.

5. Following the criticism of the Judiciary on social media, the Court admitted a Suo Moto petition and ordered an immediate end to the criticism

Following the ruling in the case, there was a lot of criticism on social media against High Court Justice Kaneganti and other Judges. A two-Judge Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court admitted a Suo Moto petition. After this, the Court ordered the State Government and the Police to immediately stop writing on social media against the Judiciary. The Police gave some lame excuses and told the Court that to stop criticism on social media is beyond their powers. Later, the Court issued notices to Google, Instagram and Facebook. The media informed the Court that they cannot delete the posts on their own and that the Court should order the deletion and not to publish such posts again.

While the trial was going on, one of the accused Poonch Prabhakar again made an offensive statement on YouTube. So far, the under this case, the number of accused has gone up from 18 to 26. They have been booked in the case and some people have been arrested. Some of the accused are highly educated. These accused people applied for bail to the Judges of Andhra Pradesh. An apology was filed on behalf of the accused for which the High Court had admitted a contempt petition. The contempt petitions were therefore disposed off by accepting the apology. Bail to the accused was strongly opposed by the CBI. According to the CBI, when the accused filed an apology in the contempt petition, they were pleading guilty. Since the accused pleaded guilty, why should they be granted bail ?

Some of the accused said that they had kidney problems and wanted to be treated. In all these cases, the Court granted bail to some of the accused. Yet, hearings continue in some cases. Thus, the lawsuit against YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and the people working in these establishments is still going on. Two accused were granted bail on bonds of Rs 50,000 and two sureties of the like amount; they have been asked to remain present at the CBI office in Vijayawada once a week.

Recently, on the occasion of ‘Constitution Day’, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court said, “The Judiciary is not allowed to function and its verdicts are being criticised on social media”. One thing to note from this is that political parties give tickets (to contest elections) to a large number of people who indulge in hooliganism and have criminal offences registered against them. There is only one criterion that political parties adopt while giving tickets to such people that they are able to get elected.

The Supreme Court has often said that cases against MPs and MLAs against whom serious offences have been registered should be heard in separate Courts. The administration operates at the behest of the corrupt and the ruling parties. If this is the condition of the Judiciary now, then the only solution to better the situation is to establish the ‘Hindu Rashtra’.

– H.H. (Advocate) Suresh Kulkarni (Founder Member, Hindu Vidhidnya Parishad and Advocate in Bombay High Court)

A brief on the Indian Judiciary

The Indian Constitution empowers the Judiciary to act as the Guardian of the Law. There are a number of provisions that deal with the Indian Judiciary’s role, power, function, and appointment of officers.

The Judiciary acts as the final arbiter on legal matters. The Constitution acts as its watchdog by calling for scrutiny any act of the legislature or the executive from overstepping the bounds set for them by the Constitution.

The Constitution acts as a guardian in protecting the fundamental rights of the people as enshrined in it, from infringement by any organ of the State. It also balances the conflicting exercise of power between the Centre and a State or among States, as assigned to them by the Constitution.

While pronouncing decisions under its constitutional mandate, the Judiciary is expected to remain unaffected by the pulls and pressures exerted by other branches of the State, citizens or interest groups.

Independence of the Judiciary has been held to be a basic and inalienable feature of the Constitution. This independence is reflected in that no Minister can suggest a name to the President, who ultimately decides on appointing Judges from a list of names recommended by the collegium of the Judiciary.

The Judiciary is expected to remain unaffected by the pulls and pressures exerted by other branches of the State !

Leave a Comment