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Govt. complaint against HC Judge triggered a row
Narendra Ch | 12 Apr 2008

: The Andhra Pradesh state government’s complaint against Justice A. Gopal Reddy of the AP High Court to the President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has triggered a major row.

The Andhra Pradesh state government’s complaint against Justice A. Gopal Reddy of the AP High Court to the President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has triggered a major row.

The judge’s reported remark about land encroachment by the state government had prompted the latter to write to the CJI and the President. The Bar Council of the Andhra Pradesh, the High Court Advocates Association and the AP High Court BC Advocates Association on Friday strongly condemned the government’s action as an infringement on the judicial terrain.

They urged the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, to intervene in the issue and settle it before “Hyderabad becomes another Lahore.” “It is for the first time in the history of the AP High Court that the State government has complained against a judge,” said  S. Satyam Reddy, President of the High Court Advocates Association. “This indicates that the government will not spare anyone who criticises it.”

The Bar Council felt that such a letter from the state government would affect the functioning and independence of the judiciary. “Since the government is the respondent in the matter, it is not befitting of it to address such a letter to the CJI and the president,” said Bar Council chairman A. Narasimha Reddy.

He said that the letter had “serious impact” on the functioning and independence of the judiciary. “The judges would not be in a position to dispose of matters in a dispassionate manner and with impartiality. The State Bar Council, being a statutory body, is also concerned with the independence and functioning of the judiciary. Since the State government is the respondent in the matter, it is not befitting for it to have addressed such a letter to the Supreme Court and also to the President of India.”

 The Bar Council held an extraordinary emergency meeting and decided to form a committee comprising  Ghanta Rama Rao,  C. Pratap Reddy and  B. Devanand to look into the matter.

The BC Advocates Association too constituted a four-member team to decide the further course of action. Prominent advocates feel that the government should file a “recuse petition” and settle the matter in the state itself. Under the recuse petition, the judge against whom the complaint is lodged will give his version, and may or may not accept the charges levelled against him. This will settle the issue.

A majority of the advocates felt that the government should first have brought the issue to the attention of AP High Court Chief Justice A.R. Dave before sho-oting off a complaint letter

Meanwhile, Justice Gopal Reddy met the Chief Justice at his chambers for 15 minutes and reportedly presented his views. Later in the evening, the Chief Justice also had a chat with the AG.  Several other judges also met the Chief Justice in the course of the day.(EOM)