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SC dismisses AP offender judgeship challenge with Rs 50,000 costs

SC rejects ruling over judge
SC rejects ruling over judge
Breaking: Alleged proclaimed offender and Andhra Pradesh high court (HC) judge NV Ramana will continue as a judge in that HC, after the Supreme Court (SC) today dismissed the petition challenging his appointment and imposed costs on each of the petitioners.

A source close to the litigation told Legally India that the bench headed by justice Aftab Alam imposed the costs of Rs 50,000 on the petitioners Manohar Reddy, Andhra Pradesh high court advocate, and MV Narsimha Reddy, senior advocate.

Though a copy of the order was not yet available at the time of going to press, the source speculated that the intention of the bench in imposing costs was to discourage future cases against judges. Ramana, in particular, is the third-most senior judge at the Andhra Pradesh HC and might get elevated to the SC soon, according to the source.

According to a PTI report in January, the SC, reserving judgment, said that it was not possible to ascertain whether Ramana was actually proclaimed an offender under the Criminal Procedure Code.

The petitioners had challenged Ramana’s appointment on the basis of criminal proceedings pending against him, alleging that the judge, at the time of his appointment, was a proclaimed offender in a case of rioting and destruction of public property by fire in 1981 when he was a student of Nagarjuna University, according to Outlook India.

Attorney general GE Vahanvati had told the bench that it was not within the SC’s domain to quash the appointment of a judge, as this was solely the prerogative of the parliament.

The advocate on record for the petitioners was Senthil Jagdeeshan with advocate Gopal Shankaranarayan also appearing. Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan assisted by advocate Kartik Seth, and senior advocate Ram Jethmalani were also instructed, though Jethmalani excused himself from the case.

It was on the insistence of Jethmalani, when he was law minister, that Ramana was considered for the present appointment by the collegium, despite his name having been dropped twice from nominations.

Ramana was elevated as a permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh HC on 27 June 2000.

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