The Supreme Court reserved judgment on a request plea filed by former Andhra Pradesh High Court judge, Justice V. Eswaraiah against the High Court order.
This order pertained to the examination of the private telephone discussion among him and suspended Andhra Pradesh District Munsif Magistrate, plotting a conspiracy against the State’s Chief Justice and a senior sitting Supreme Court judge, consequently to destabilize the legal executive.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the former Judge before the Division Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy, contended that if at all an inquiry must be held into the substance of a private discussion, then the whole case must be re-investigated.
“If you want to hold an inquiry, hold it about the full thing. I spoke about some land deals where a sitting Supreme Court judge is involved. Then there should be an inquiry into the land deals too,” he argued.
The bench said that it will consider Eswaraiah’s petition to put aside the High Court’s order because it has observed some genuine facts against him without serving him any notice or allowing the opportunity to present his case.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal, representing an intervener, said that a table has been made of the discussions that the judge concedes and that which he doesn’t concede.
He said that the bit altered out in the record of the discussion documented by Bhushan was “scandalous” in nature.
“Nothing has been altered out. It’s actually according to the discussion on the pen drive. The discussion I had with Ramakrishna was in three folds. First was his suspension, at that point, I coaxed him and afterward took data in regards to the Benami land deals. I have turned out in a few public interviews where I have expressed things about the sitting Supreme Court judge and his closeness to the past Chief Minister of the territory of Andhra Pradesh,” Bhushan stated.
Bhushan additionally scrutinized the bona fides of mediation in the matter by Senior Advocate Harish Salve who was representing P Samuel John, a legal Advocate from Andhra Pradesh.
Advocate Harish Salve presented that the affidavit documented by Justice Eswaraiah which says that specific pieces of the record may not be right or altered itself puts forth his defense more seriously because there must be a complete non-edited record.
Advocate Bhushan demanded the judges to put aside the High Court’s verdict on the ground that the equivalent was passed without hearing him, and without giving him any notification of the procedures.
The bench has stated it will consider the arguments put forth and put a stay on the request.
The petition by John, filed through advocate Vipin Nair, stated that he was “profoundly upset by the sequence of assaults directed against the Judicial establishments in the State of Andhra Pradesh.”
“I’m shocked how these mediations are permitted. Who are they? These are mala fide intercessions,” Bhushan claimed.
Salve however is of the firm opinion that the statements recorded by the previous adjudicator left numerous inquiries unanswered.
The Petitioner has additionally presented that a backward class association had recorded a petition in the form of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) demanding a thorough investigation concerning infringement of Covid-19 rules in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh.
The petition claimed that such violation of the guidelines resulted in the death of a Registrar General belonging to the backward class association and also an associate having his connections to the Scheduled Tribe community.
During the pendency of the request, a suspended District Munsif Magistrate of Andhra Pradesh documented a mediation application wherein he added the documents concerning a private discussion between the petitioner and him.
The request also carries numerous information regarding the appeal to the High Court and the misconduct by the sitting Judge of the Supreme Court.
In the said conversation, the applicant had referenced his knowledge about the offense of the Supreme Court Judge and had asked the District Munsif Magistrate if he had any more data about such behavior.
On such records, the High Court ordered for an investigation into the discussion on the premise that the discussion unveils a conspiracy to defame the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh, a sitting Judge of this Hon’ble Court, and accordingly indicates a plot against the judiciary.
The petitioner had openly spoken about such behavior of the sitting Judge of the Hon’ble court and his nexus with the past Government (the then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu) and he was aware of different realities in regards to this misconduct.
The conversation in question concerns the subject matter that was under the inquiry by the cabinet subcommittee concerning questionable property exchanges for unlawful gains, including the said sitting Supreme Court Judge and other workers in charge of issues in the previous Government in Andhra Pradesh.
This related to a First Information Report dated 05.09.2020 which named Sri Dammalapati Srinivas, former Additional Advocate General and Advocate General, and two daughters of the sitting Supreme court Judge.
In his affidavit recorded under the watchful eye of the Supreme Court, Eswaraiah has expressed that “the voice in the discussion has all the remarks of being mine and henceforth the part what I have suspected to say is right.”
The suspended District Munsiff Magistrate called me over Whatsapp on July 20, 2020, however I do not know from which phone number he called from. Whatsapp is end-to-end encrypted and thus recording of calls is not possible. However the recording proves that an external device was used to record the conversation,” he added.
Eswaraiah has likewise claimed that the brief audio recording was purposely given to a news channel to defame and malign him.
Justice RV Raveendran, former judge of the Supreme Court of India, was requested by the High Court to investigate to discover the credibility of the discussion. Justice Eswaraiah has fervently opposed the same.