AP HC orders criminal prosecution against IAS officer for perjury
Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday ordered criminal prosecution against an IAS officer for perjury and made scathing remarks against the state police chief, saying he was not upholding the rule of law.
The bench headed by Justice Rakesh Kumar passed the order disposing of a petition seeking his recusal in a Public Interest Litigation against sale of government lands under the Mission Build AP.
The two-judge bench, also comprising Justice D Ramesh, referred to the recent transfer of Chief Justice J K Maheshwari by the Supreme Court Collegium, after Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy's letter to the Chief Justice of India against an apex court judge, the AP chief justice and some other judges.
It said this could give an undue benefit to the Andhra Pradesh government.
The bench said whether by this act of sending an "unceremonious" letter to the Supreme Court chief justice, the chief minister will get final relief or not but "fact remains that he succeeded in getting undue advantage at the present moment."
"People may draw an inference as if after the so called letter of Hon'ble chief minister, the two chief justices, i.e. chief justice of the High Court for the State of Telangana and chief justice of the High Court of AP have been transferred," it observed.
"I am not raising any question on the transfer of Hon'ble chief justices... but, at the same time, I am constrained to observe that transfer of high court judges or its chief justices may reflect some transparency and for betterment or upliftment of the administration of justice," Justice Rakesh Kumar noted.
"After all, they are also holding Constitutional post like member of Hon'ble Supreme Court Collegium," he added.
Meanwhile, the bench directed launching criminal prosecution against 2006-batch IAS officer Pravin Kumar, director (full additional charge) of Mission Build AP, who filed an affidavit in the high court in the petition seeking recusal of Justice Rakesh Kumar.
The high court said the "prayer for recusal of one of the members of the division bench (Justice Rakesh Kumar) from the present case stands rejected."
Filing such petition is a derogatory act and also contemptuous, the bench said.
"I (Justice Rakesh Kumar) may make it clear that all the aforesaid observation has been made by me since prayer for my recusal was made. Such prayer made by respondent (Kumar) holding the post in the Andhra Pradesh government is simply a contemptuous act and it is highly deprecated," Justice Rakesh Kumar noted.
It is a case that on oath, the petitioner or respondent, on behalf of the State, has made a false statement, which is not supported by either on the record of the docket or any documents, and as such, it amounts to commission of offence of perjury and such act is liable to be proceeded with in accordance with law, the bench said.
The court directed Pravin Kumar to file a show-cause within six weeks and posted the case for further hearing to the second week of February 2021.
"One may not forget that this is only State, where the Hon'ble A.P Legislative Council when had not agreed to proceed with the tune of Hon'ble Legislative Assembly's decision regarding establishment of three capitals in one State, the government of Andhra Pradesh recommended for abolition of Legislative Council itself," the judge said.
"Even the office of State Election Commissioner, which is one of the Constitutional organs, was not spared, since the State Election Commissioner was not proceeding as per the wishes of the state government," he observed.
The court further remarked that Director General of Police D G Sawang, "is functioning as per the dictate of the government, not in upholding rule of law in the State."
Reacting to the order, state Additional Advocate General P Sudhakar Reddy said the judge's observations would be challenged in the Supreme Court.
He claimed that the judge made irrelevant comments out of "personal ill will". Justice Rakesh Kumar's comments on the SC Collegium's decisions are alarming, Reddy said.