Efforts to initiate impeachment proceedings against high court judge Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy for allegedly interfering in the work of subordinate judiciary has failed for a second time in the past few months. A notice to the Rajya Sabha chairman earlier this year for a motion of removal of Justice Reddy, claiming there was “enough prima facie material” to start the process of inquiry against him under the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, has become infructuous after nine of the 54 signatories withdrew, a source said. The parliamentarians alleged that Justice Reddy, a judge at the high court of judicature at Hyderabad for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, had interfered in the judicial process and hurled casteist abuses against a junior Dalit judge.
The Constitution stipulates that a minimum of 50 Rajya Sabha members or double that number from the Lok Sabha are required as signatories to initiate impeachment proceedings against judges of the higher judiciary. In December last year, a large group of Rajya Sabha members had made an attempt to get Justice Reddy removed, but it failed as some MPs withdrew their signatures. The fresh notice, signed by 54 MPs belonging to the Telugu Desam Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Congress, Samajwadi Party, CPI(M) and other parties, has alleged that the high court judge “interfered in the judicial process” which included “physical assault” and “abusing” a junior Dalit judge, S Rama Krishna of Rayachoty, on “caste lines”.
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The MPs have claimed that Justice Reddy “victimised” Krishna for “not submitting to his illegal demands”. He “misused” his position as a high court judge of undivided Andhra Pradesh to “use the subordinate judiciary to victimise” Krishna, they said. Justice Reddy was also accused by the MPs of possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income and non-declaration of assets to the high court chief justice and the public, in violation of the Full Court Resolution of the Supreme Court in 1997.