[Justice Ramanna’s case] Demand of probe of corruption charges against Supreme Court Judges and making it in public does not amount to scandalising the Court and not a case of Contempt.


[Justice Ramanna’s case] Demand of probe of corruption charges against Supreme Court Judges and making it in public does not amount to scandalising the Court and not a case of Contempt.

Atoorney General K.K.Venugopal clarified in his letter while refusing his consent for contempt proceeding against Adv. Prashant Bhushan and Adv. Nilesh Ojha.

Indian Bar Association’s stand  getting strengthened day by day

Atoorney General clarified that when matter is subjudice before CJI then it is not proper for me to take any decision to preclude the CJI from deciding it.

The view taken by the AG is in the tune of the landmark judgment of Court on its Own Motion Vs. DSP Jayant Kashmiri 2017 SCC OnLine Del 7387.

This entire episode is a great shame  for  Bombay Bar Association’s Milind Sathe and BILS’s Kaiwan Kallyaniwalla and all other sycophants who wanted to silence the voice against corrupt/guilty/incompetent  Judges belonging to their coterie by initiating frivolous contempt action by misusing the legal process and bypassing the procedure of decision making authority of CJI and Attorney General, when they become aware  that they will not get support to their illegal move  from CJI or Attorney General.

AG Sh. Venugopal  refused to accept the view of two Judge Bench in Re: Vijay Kurle's case where the Bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose had taken a view that no one can file complaint against Supreme Court Judges. The said view is against larger benches and have no value as a binding precedent. Part of the ratio laid down in Re: Vijay Kurle's case is already overruled by the larger bench in Prashant Bhushan's case observing that the procedure laid down in P. N. Duda's case has to be followed. Rest part of the judgment is per incuriam and such judgments are also called as 'anticipatorily overruled' in United States legal fraternity.

New Delhi : In India there are many ‘sycophants’ and many ‘illiterate advocates and Judges, who don’t know the basic law but in order to cover their faults/corruption/wrongs they always tries to take shelter of contempt proceedings by committing further offences against the administration of justice.

However, the upright Judges and Law officers like Attorney General Shri K. K. Venugopal is the ray of hope that the country is still being governed by the rule of law.

The issue is regarding the complaint made by Chief Minister of A.P.,  Shri Jaganmohan Reddy against Justice Shri N. V. Ramanna and subsequent support to Sh. Reddy from Sr. Adv Prashant Bhushan and Adv Nilesh Ojha, National President of Indian Bar Association,  in their tweets and articles demanding CBI probe and action.

Few  advocates and so called activists who, due to their limited knowledge and understanding and also for ulterior  purposes had taken a view that even if the allegations against Justice Ramanna are true then also no complaint can be lodged against a Supreme Court Judge as he is immune to commit any offence when he is in the chair of a Judge. Secondly those group also wanted to take action of contempt against Sh Jaganmohan Reddy, Adv. Prashant Bhushan and Adv Nilesh Ojha.

However, AG Venugopal vide his letter dated 2 Nov 2020 refused to grant his  consent on two grounds;

i)    The letter/complaint sent by Sh. Jaganmohan Reddy is before CJI and therefore it is not proper to comment as to whether it amounts to contempt or not.

ii)    The tweet by Adv. Prashant Bhushan and the article by Adv. Nilesh Ojha is not amount to contempt.

                                K.K. Venugoal, Attorney General for India

However , the petitioner again made a request for reconsidering the decision stating that it is not a reasoned one.

While declining the request for reconsideration of consent the AG wrote as under;

“As I had stated in my original letter to you dated 2.11.2020, the Chief Justice of India is presently seized of the matter, and the Supreme Court could suo motu initiate proceedings for contempt against Sh. Jaganmohan Reddy. In these circumstances, it would not be appropriate for me to grant consent and preclude the determination of the Chief Justice of India on the matter. As you are no doubt aware, contempt is a matter between Court and contemnor, and no person as of right can insist upon the initiation of contempt proceedings.

For these reasons, I cannot accede to your request for reconsideration insofar as Sh. Jaganmohan Reddy is concerned.

"With regard to Sh. Prashant Bhushan and Sh. Nilesh Ojha, as I had stated earlier, having gone through the statements attributed to them, I was not of the opinion that proceedings for contempt against them would lie. Insofar as Sh. Prashant Bhushan is concerned, his tweets are to the effect that allegations of corruption required a quick probe cannot be said to be contumacious. Likewise, the statements attributed to Sh. Nilesh Ojha are also to the effect that public interest requires that allegations of judicial corruption be brought to the attention of the public. Neither of these statements can be said to scandalize the court or affect the administration of justice or impede the course any particular judicial proceedings.”

 The stand taken by AG Sh. Venugopal is a proper procedure as it is also explained in the landmark judgment in the case of Court on its Own Motion Vs. DSP Jayant Kashmiri 2017 SCC OnLine Del 7387.

AG Sh. Venugopal  refused to accept the view of two Judge Bench in Re: Vijay Kurle's case where the Bench of Justice Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose had taken a view that no one can file complaint against Supreme Court Judges.

The law is very clear in this regard as has been published by Adv. Nilesh Ojha in his article as under;

“The sum and substance of the binding judgments is that;

i)                   When any person is having sound proofs then he is duty bound to bring it to the authority empowered to take action against such person. By making complaints Shri Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy performed his constitutional duty as enschrigned in Art. 51(A) h of the constitution as ruled in the case of R.K. Jain (2010) 8 SCC 281

ii)                   Much harm is done by the myth that, merely by  taking the oath of office as a judge, a man ceases to be human and strips himself of all predilections, becomes a passionless thinking machine and he will not indulge in corrupt practices.[ Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar's case (2011) 14 SCC 770]

iii)              There are many cases where Judges of Supreme Court and High Courts are found to be involved in corruption and misused their position for giving undue favor to undeserving person and denying reliefs to the deserving one. Some are prosecuted and some managed to save them by doing further corruption.

iv)              There is no protection available to a judge of Supreme Court and High Court if he commits serious criminal offences by  misusing his position as a Judge.[ K. Veeraswami K. Veeraswami Vs. Union of India (1991) 3 SCC 655]

v)                Contempt petition against a High Court or Supreme Court Judge can be filed before Supreme Court and Court is bound to examine it. [Re: C.S. Karnan (2017) 7 SCC 1]

vi)              When any person is having sound proofs then he is duty bound to make it public so that

(a) the people with similar greviences may also be encouraged to come forward;

 (b)  it will create deterrence in the mind of said corrupt judge;

(c)  further injustice and corruption of the said tainted Judge be stopped, prevented or at least the ‘coterie’ should be on backfoot (d) the vigilant citizens may give their proofs;

(e ) It will develop the accuemen of the citizens to analyze the modus oprandi of both i.e. the Corrupt judges and the disgruntled people making baseless allegations.[Bathina Ramakrishna Reddy AIR 1952 SC 149 Subramanyam Swamy (2014) 12 SCC 344, Aniruddha Bahal 2010 (119) DRJ 102, Bramha Prakash Sharma AIR 1954 SC 10, Baradkanta Mishra  (1974) 1 SCC 374,  Lalith Kalitha 2008 (1) GLT 800]


vii)            If a particular judge or magistrate is corrupt and sells justice, then a bona fide complaint to higher authorities to take necessary action against the delinquent judicial officer is also an act to maintain the purity of the administration of justice, for it is unthinkable that a judicial officer should be allowed to take bribes and if anybody makes a grievance of the matter to the higher authorities, he should be hauled up for contempt  of  Court. [Rama Surat Singh Vs. Shiv Kumar Pandey 1969 SCC OnLine All 226, Harihar Shukla 1976 Cr.L.J. 507, Ram Piarra comrade 1972 SCC OnLine P&H 277, Baradkanta Mishra  (1974) 1 SCC 374 ]

viii)         The person making a complaint against a Judge can use the word ‘corrupt motive and malafide intention’ against a Judge and it does not amount to scandalous pleadings. [Ram Piarra comrade 1972 SCC OnLine P&H 277, R.K. Jain (2010) 8 SCC 281, Lalith Kalitha 2008 (1) GLT 800]

ix)              In such situations the members of the  Bar  are expected to adopt the judicial approach and insist for investigation and to bring the truth to the surface.   The members of the Bar will be failing in their  duties laid down  by Full Bench of Supreme Court iMaria Margarida Sequeria Fernandes and Ors v. Erasmo Jack de Sequeria,  AIR 2012 SC1727,  where it is ruled that in the administration of justice, Judges and Lawyers play equal roles. Like judges, lawyers also must ensure that truth triumphs in the administration of justice it must be the endeavor of all the Judges to ascertain truth in every matter and no stone should be left unturned in achieving this object. 

x)                It is the duty of the lawyer to expose corrupt Judges. In the case of  R.  Muthukrishnan Vs. The Registrar General Of The High Court AIR 2019 SC 849 , ruled that it is the duty of the Bar to protect honest judges and at the same time to ensure that corrupt judges are not spared;

xi)              The members of Bar  should avoid to make any comments which reflect their sycophant and servile conduct and people will feel that it is a sponsored act at the behest of corrupt/tainted Judges. The sycophancy of the members of the Bar will bring the name of Noble Profession in to disrepute.

xii)           The members of the Bar and anyone  who has filed contempt petition against Shri Jaganmohan Reddy and those who are  willing to prosecute him  under contempt without anything to counter the proofs given by Shri Jaganmohan, are guilty of judicial impropriety because the Hon’ble CJI is seized of the matter and if Hon’ble CJI don’t find it contemptuous then the other bench can not take cognizance of the contempt. [  Court on its Own Motion Vs. DSP Jayant Kashmiri 2017 SCC OnLine Del 7387]

xiii)         They should need to be  prosecuted under section 211,192,193,120(B), 34 of IPC in view of law laid down in Hari Dass Vs. State AIR 1964 SC 1773.

xiv)         Such frivolous  petition  without any proof  if filed by anyone  be dismissed with heavy cost as ruled in R.K. Jain (2010) 8 SCC 281.Such members of Bar should also be expelled from the roll by the respective Bar Council. ”

9.  Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of O. P. Sharma Vs. High Court of Punjab & Haryana (2011) 6 SCC 86 has observed that,

“As per section-I of Chapter-II, part VI title “standards of professional conduct and etiquette” of the Bar Council India rules specifies the duties of an advocate that ‘he shall not be servile and whenever there is proper ground for serious complaint against Judicial officer, it shall be his right and duty to submit his grievance to proper authorities.”


The excerpts from   the book ‘The Law of  Contempt’ by LexisNexis Borrie & Lowe, are relevant here. It reads thus;

“The interest of an efficient judiciary call for a strong and  efficient bar, independent in outlook and not afraid to  respectfully and boldly present the controversy in question. A  sycophantic bar acting as an ‘Yes-man’ to the fulmination of an erring judge will only make the judge err more. A pampered judge will most likely stray away from the path of true justice. An opposite view strongly advanced by counsel helps the judge think over the pros and cons of a matter and come to a right decision. A weak bar is the greatest enemy to the administration of justice, Weak counsel to an overpowering judge is neither an asset to the profession nor to the interests of justice. In fact a weak and subservient counsel is the enemy of a judge’s personal progress. A seemingly hostile but robust advocate is the best benefactor to a judge who is ambitious of a bright carrier. The judge is gradually drawn to develop his intellectual poise and acumen, egged on as it were by combating counsel. A languishing bar is the surest sign of the decadence of the judiciary”


I expect that the wisdom shall prevail over the members of bar taking contrary view.

Download the letter by Attorney General K.K.Venugopal



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