By Amit Kumar, Twocircles.net
Sixty one members of the Rajya Sabha have submitted a petition to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari on Monday for initiating the impeachment process of Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High court for alleged victimisation of a Dalit district court judge, along with amassing assets disproportionate to his income.
The 15-page petition details how Reddy misused his power in order to save his brother, and assaulted a Dalit judge who was investigating the matter. In the letter, the signatories point out that in November 2012, junior civil judge S Rama Krishna, was allegedly assaulted by Reddy and his brother, Pawan Kumar Reddy after he refused to remove the name of Reddy’s brother from a dying declaration. The said declaration was of a servant employed with Reddy’s brother who had accused Reddy’s brother of setting him on fire “for not agreeing to sign on a blank paper.”
The petition further adds that Reddy did not stop at this; in fact, he ensured that Krishna was also transferred from Rayachoty before completion of his stipulated tenure.More worryingly, Krishna was then placed under suspension based on an anonymous complaint regarding corruption allegations against him. Importantly, copies of various complaints made by the district court judge to the police, High Court vigilance registrar, Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and to the Chief Justice of India have been attached with the notice as annexures.
The petition also alleged that Reddy possessed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, and that he did not declare his assets to the Chief Justice and to the public in violation of the full court resolution of 1997.
Also, the petition pointed out that there were other cases when the family of Reddy had used its position to abuse Dalits. In a case pertaining to Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, an FIR was filed against Reddy’s daughter and wife for abusing the tenants who were Dalits. The applicants pointed out that the family would use its power in this case, and expectedly, the matter was closed. Similarly, a Hyderabad-based NGO recently issued a pamphlet bringing attention to various other cases of misconduct and unfair use of power by Reddy, and especially his brother. The NGO alleged that Pavan Reddy had recently captured land meant for Dalits. They also alleged that the funds meant for Dalit families were embezzled by the family.
Meanwhile, Krishna, the Dalit judge who was suspended, continues to live in fear and remains underground.
The Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, which was cited in the petition, says that a complaint against a Judge has to be made through a resolution either by 100 members of the Lok Sabha or 50 Rajya Sabha members.
Commenting on the issue, the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights, which has helped Krishna appeal to a number of authorities said, “Rajya Sabha will now form a three-member committee to look into the charges framed against the Judge in question. At the end of the fact-finding by the committee, a report with the recommendations will be submitted to them. If the the committee recommends that the judge be impeached, the Rajya Sabha will vote on the same. A two third majority of at least half the strength concurs, then the motion of impeachment shall be placed before the President for his assent.”
“Even though there exists discrimination in the higher judiciary as there have been many instances but the evidence was difficult to gather and the concerned witnesses and victims were unwilling to come and take a strong stand fearing any repercussions. This will be therefore the first case of impeachment on caste-based discrimination,” NCDHR added in the press release.