The initiation comes after the Andhra Pradesh high court asked the investigating agency to probe if there was a ‘larger conspiracy’ into abusive posts against judges and the judiciary.
By: Malavika S Menon, B.BA LL.B, Nehru Academy of Law
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked 16 individuals for purposefully targeting judges of the Supreme Court and the Andhra Pradesh High Court for deriving defamatory statements through interviews, and for posting abusive comments and threats through social media platforms.
B. Rajasekhar, the Registrar General of the court, filed the complaint based on which charges had been taken for 12 cases registered by the state CID, on the directions of the Andhra Pradesh HC. The Bureau had taken over the inquest for the same.
The accused 16 persons named below alleged under Sections 153A (promoting enmity), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505(2), and 506 of IPC and Section 67 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form) of the IT Act.
(i) Konda Reddy Dhamireddy, (ii) Mani Annapureddy, (iii) Sudheer Pamula, (iv) Adarsh Reddy, (v) Abhishek Reddy, (vi) Siva Reddy, (vii) Sridhar Reddy Avuthu, (viii) Jalagam Venkata Satya Narayana, (ix) G Sridhar Reddy, (x) Linga Reddy, (xi) Chandu Reddy, (xii) Srinath Suswaram, (xiii) Kishore Reddy Darisa, (xiv) Chiranjeevi Reddy, (xv) Linga Reddy Rajasekhar and (xvi) K Gowthami.
The HC direction came after the controversial letter to the Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, claiming that the Andhra Pradesh High Court and Supreme Court Judge N.V. Ramana for showing political bias and also for corruption.
He implied that the court acted in favor of his rival N. Chandrababu Naidu, expressing that the HC was being used to “destabilize and topple” his democratically elected government.
The HC mentioned higher level functionaries of the YSR Congress party for making “scathing remarks” about the judiciary. It stated that “Their comments are perilous to democracy and amounted to an attack on the judiciary. If some ordinary person makes any comment against the government, cases are promptly registered against such persons.”
The bench of Justices Rakesh Kumar and J. Uma Devi had commented orally during a hearing that “When persons in positions made comments against the judges and the courts, why have cases not been filed? Looking at things, we are left to infer that a war has been declared on the judiciary.”
Petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court seeking action against Jagan for leveling ‘unsubstantiated’ allegations against Justice Ramana and the Andhra Pradesh HC. While the hearing was scheduled to begin on Monday, it was adjourned after Justice U.U. Lalit recused himself.