AP High Court judge's appointment comes under SC scanner
The Supreme Court today agreed to scrutinise the appointment of an Andhra Pradesh High Court judge, Justice N V Ramana, despite pendency of a criminal case against him during his appointment, and sought from the Attorney General all documents pertaining to his elevation.
A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai also expressed surprise that he was appointed on the advice of erstwhile Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani, who, appearing as an advocate for the petitioner, was now seeking quashing of his elevation.
"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.
When the bench pointed it out to Jethmalani, he said if some wrong has been done, it can be undone too.
"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," Jethmalani replied. @Body:
The court asked the AG to file documents relating to the Justice Ramana's appointment in a sealed cover while hearing a plea filed by one M Manohar Reddy challenging the appointment.
The bench also directed the Guntur district court to file details of the case which was going on against the judge.
The case allegedly related to offence of rioting and destruction of public property in the year 1981 when justice Ramana 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.
Justice Ramana was elevated as permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 27, 2000.
The petitioner alleged that the trial proceeded against the judge before a Guntur court which admitted a charge sheet naming him an accused in October 1983.
While the trial prolonged for close to two decades, on May 8, 2000 he was declared a proclaimed offender in the case and a month later, he was appointed as a permanent judge of the high court, the petitioner contended.
He further alleged that warrant was also issued against the judge on December 2 but it went unanswered and later on then TDP government withdrew the prosecution against him on January 31, 2002.