The Supreme Court has expunged the allegations, cross allegations, and observations made in an interim order passed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court, noting that the Judges concerned have already demitted office.

The High Court of Andhra Pradesh had rejected the prayer for recusal of the Judges, holding that the petitioner, on behalf of the State, had made a false statement without any supporting record and committed an offence of perjury.

The High Court had held, “Now-a-days, a very disturbing trend has developed in our system. If one is influential, powerful, i.e., both in money and muscle, he feels that he is having every privilege to do anything as per his convenience and to the peril of system or poor citizen.

The High Court had also observed, "For a while I was astonished with such behaviour of State but immediately thereafter, I perceived that bureaucrats of this State have been emboldened after apparent success of the Hon ble Chief Minister of the State of Andra Pradesh in addressing a letter to the Hon'ble the Chief Justice of India and making it public, making allegation against one of the senior Judges of Hon'ble Supreme Court, the Hon'ble Chief Justice of A.P High Court and number of sitting Judges of A.P High Court with their name."

The High Court had held that filing of the petition with false allegations by the State amounted to interference in the discharge of judicial functions and was a contemptuous act.

A Bench of Justice Rakesh Kumar and Justice D. Ramesh had passed in the impugned order of the High Court. Both the said Judges have subsequently retired.

Senior Advocate Anand Padmanabhan R. and Senior Advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi represented the petitioners, while AOR Shashwat Goel appeared for the respondents.

It was submitted before the Supreme Court by the State that since the concerned Judge has already demitted office, the issue of recusal has become infructuous. The State submitted that the "unwarranted observations" made in the impugned interim order be expunged or deleted as the main petitions are pending in the High Court.

Justice Bela M. Trivedi and Justice Pankaj Mithal observed, “The application made on behalf of the State seeking recusal of the Judge from the case was unwarranted as also the observations made by the Judge against the State in the impugned interim order(s) were unwarranted.

The case pertained to a public interest litigation filed to declare the Notice Inviting Offer (NIO) issued by the government of Andhra Pradesh to sell government land through auction as illegal and arbitrary.

AGA Sudhakar Reddy had filed an application on behalf of the State of Andhra Pradesh (State) seeking recusal of Justice Rakesh Kumar from the case.

At the time of the hearing before the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, the petitioner had highlighted that Justice Rakesh Kumar had made a particular observation, quoted "how could the Government could auction the properties of the State, had Government become bankrupt to auction Government properties. We will declare there is break down of constitutional machinery in the State and hand over administration to the Central Government."

The High Court was of the opinion that the act of the State by filing such a petition was derogatory and contemptuous. The High Court noted, “it is unfortunate that such a petition has been filed not by a private party, but on behalf of the State.”

The Supreme Court noted that the Judge concerned had already demitted the office and ordered that “the allegations, cross allegations and observations made in the impugned interim order(s) shall stand obliterated.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court disposed of the SLP.

Cause Title: The State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. v. Thota Suresh Babu & Ors.


Petitioners: Senior Advocates Anand Padmanabhan R. and Abhishek Manu Singhvi; AOR Abhijit Sengupta and Mahfooz Ahsan Nazki; Advocates V. Sridhar Reddy, Narendra Dev Arya, Abhijit Sengupta, S Niranjan Reddy, Rajeswari Mukherjee, K V Girish Chowdary, T Vijaya Bhaskar Reddy, Meeran Maqbool, Archita Nigam, Sahil Raveen, and Akhila Palem Ramireddy

Respondents: AOR Tarun Gupta and Shashwat Goel; Advocates Yelamanchili Shiva Santosh Kumar, Rudrajit Ghosh, Harshil Manchanda, and Parnam Prabhakar.

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