New Delhi: Supreme Court Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, who was to hear a PIL seeking the removal of Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy from the post of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister over his “scandalising” remarks against a senior judge of the top court, on Monday recused himself from the case saying, "I have difficulties. As a lawyer I had represented one of the parties. Place the matter before the Chief Justice for listing before an appropriate bench of which I am not a member.”
Justice Lalit had, as senior Supreme Court lawyer in 2011-12, appeared before the Andhra Pradesh High Court on behalf of Reddy.
The Chief Minister had, in a letter written to Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, alleged that a sitting judge of the Supreme Court was trying to “destabilise and topple my democratically elected government.”
In an open letter addressed to CJI Bobde on October 6, the Chief Minister had alleged that the senior judge had been influencing the sittings of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, including the roster of a few judges. The Chief Minister cited instances of how cases important to the Opposition Telugu Desam (TD) were “allocated to a few judges”.
Justice Lalit was heading a three-judge bench, also comprising Justice Vineet Saran and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, before which three separate petitions by advocates G.S. Mani, Sunil Kumar Singh and Anti-Corruption Council of India Trust, seeking action against the Chief Minister for his allegations.
They have alleged that Jagan Mohan Reddy didn’t just write a letter to Chief Justice Bobde levelling allegations against the senior judge, but he also made his aide hold a press conference to release the letter, with false statements.
Singh has urged the Supreme Court to issue an order to bar the Chief Minister from making public statements that lower the image of the judiciary in the eyes of the public.