Retired Judge of Madras High Court and sensational film “Jai Bhim” fame Justice Chandru’s comments on Andhra Pradesh High Court stoked a controversy.
He said that the courts have some limitations as other fields do. His derogatory remarks invited swift wrath from the AP high court as Justice Battu Devanand has expressed serious displeasure at Justice Chandru.
Justice Chandru made some comments seen as a violation of the courts as he opined that the courts can slap fines on the governments if failed to file counter affidavits on habeas corpus cases and cannot go beyond to issue orders. Stating that the ultimate aim of the courts should be to protect human rights and serve people, Justice Chandru felt that the courts are not going in the right direction. There are some incidents, which may repeat that some judges have openly agreed in public forums that a few of their judgments were wrong.
Justice Chandru also found fault that based on social media comments, courts sought CBI probes and sent search teams to foreign countries. As the Constitution is the weapon, he said that advocates can remain happy by serving victims and people and not earning money.
He also raked up a row by stating that the government, which was elected by people, has to fight with the court instead of opposition parties. He made some serious comments while participating in a programme organised by APCLC and Kula Vivaksha Vyatireka Porata Samithi in Vijayawada on Monday.
The AP government is going in a different way as it withdraws laws passed in legislature Assembly without the knowledge of the judiciary and judiciary system in Andhra Pradesh is going in another direction. He also observed that justice may not be done in a situation with regard to a case of three capital cities as the government sought transfer of the case to other judges from those judges who have lands in Amaravathi in the State.
These comments by Justice Chandru are going viral and being debated on social media.
Reacting seriously to this, Justice Battu Devanand of the Andhra Pradesh High Court has expressed serious displeasure.
He said that such comments are aimed at maligning the image of the entire judiciary system, and courts. Some persons may indulge in such comments to be in the limelight and should desist from blaming the entire judiciary for a few lapses, Justice Devanand said. The comments of Justice Chandru might be for protecting human rights and people and should not aim at tarnishing the image of the court.
Justice Battu Devanand observed that he had respect for Justice Chandru for his key role in Jai Bhim film and now withdrew the same after his comments in Vijayawada. He opposed Justice Chandru’s comments for belittling the entire court and judiciary system by not understanding the prevailing situation in the State. What is wrong to order for the CBI probe for insulting posts against the judges in social media, he asked.
Justice Chandru can take up the production of a film on human rights violations with regard to Dr Sudhakar of Narsipatnam who was beaten up by police in Vishakhapatnam. Courts will try to protect people as the government reacted to a suo moto case of contempt of court case to stop meetings of the secretariat and Rythu Bharosa centres at schools’ premises. “Judiciary is for people and it is our duty to protect their interests. We asked the government to stop suicides by workers of an employment guarantee scheme for the non-payment of bills,” he said.
We are trying to deliver for people and to protect peoples’ rights and blaming the courts is not right instead one can go for appeal further. Human rights violations and atrocities are not confined to just police stations they are taking place elsewhere and we are bound to protect people. I withdraw to write a letter to high court chief justice to take up a suo moto criminal case on Justice Chandru based on his social status, service to society and age,” Justice Devannad said.
There might be some lapses in the system as judges, lawyers are working amid inadequacies who are also human beings may commit some mistakes unintentionally. There is no room for such malicious comments and attributing lapses to the total judiciary, he said, adding that being helpless they are refraining from giving a fitting reply before the media to such comments.
In a case, he expressed discontent that non-payment of bills for furniture in village secretariats is causing problems. The court adjourned the case and sought an affidavit as the Principal Secretary SS Ravat agreed to delay in payment of the bills and release funds to some extent.
A division bench led by AP High Court Chief Justice Prashanth Kumar Mishra too expressed serious disappointment at Justice Chandru’s comments on the court and judiciary. “I saw his comments in a newspaper, who came from another State, made derogatory comments only to remain in limelight against the court instead of confining to the topic of human rights violations,” he said.
Stating that such lights will be put off, he said that the judges and advocates as human beings may commit some mistakes and that can be challenged at a higher level. Representing the court Advocate Ashwanikumar said that Justice Chandru comments are to encourage OTT films to run for 100 days from one-month shows.
The court then sought an affidavit for a logical end on the progress of the case of malicious social media comments. The court asked the CBI officials to file an affidavit with details by catching those who ran away from the country including Punch Prabhakar and others. On behalf of the CBI, Advocate General SV Raju said that social media is not giving details of people posting such comments. He appealed to the court to give gag orders on such derogatory posts in social media and some interviews against the legal system.
On behalf of Facebook and Google, Advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Sajan Puvaiah said that they have no objection to giving details to the CBI on the case. On an appeal, the court closed the contempt case related to Kathi Mahesh who died recently. The court adjourned the case to January 25.