AP HC considers former Advocate General’s plea of political vendetta; Directs no coercive action to be taken in FIR

Andhra Pradesh High Court: Jitendra Kumar Maheswari, CJ stayed investigation into the case filed against the former Advocate General and Senior Advocate Dammalapati Srinivas.

Present petition was filed alleging mala fides against the State authorities, specifying the reasons as setup in the petition.

Petitioner held the office of Additional Advocate General and thereafter he had become the Advocate General and is a Senior Advocate having long-standing at the bar.

Petition states that he is being targeted by the Government and in furtherance thereto, the Government wants to foist a false case against him, alleging purchase of the property being aware of the establishment of capital in Amaravati prior to the date of identifying the capital in his name and that of others.

Further, it was stated that when the action was not found justified by central agencies, state agencies through Police were working in a mala fide manner.

What the petitioner sought?

Petitioner sought records pertaining to any investigation being conducted by any of the State agencies and all the respondents. If any investigation was to be made by the State, it may be under the strict supervision of a High Court Judge or in the alternative under the supervision of a retired Judge of the High Court, looking at the political vendetta against the petitioner.

Senior Counsel, Mukul Rohatgi and Shyam Divan for the petitioners strenuously urged that if there is any political vendetta, it may be against parties or persons of the respective parties, but taking action on account of those reasons against a former Advocate General of the State and a Senior Advocate is unheard of and not warranted, that too in a planned way as reflected in the present case.

Media Trial

Further, it has been urged that after the filing of the present petition and recusal from the case by the Judge of this Court, registration of offence immediately projected over the social media and newspapers against the petitioner and also two daughters of a sitting Judge of the Supreme Court of India amounting to scandalizing the authority with a mala fide intention by way of media trial.

In view of the above facts, the petitioner prayed for no coercive steps to be taken on the basis of registration of FIR including investigation after the filing of the petition and its publication in the print, electronic and social media.

Senior Counsel, C.V. Mohan Reddy on behalf of respondent 3 submitted that as the news already was in the electronic media, therefore, the said relief is infructuous, even otherwise, media cannot be restrained to publish news.

Decision

Bench in view of the above granted interim relief and directed that no coercive step shall be taken in furtherance to FIR  which was registered after filing of the present petition against any of the accused.

Court also stayed the investigation. Further, it was directed that the news regarding the registration of FIR or in the context of the said FIR shall not be made public in any electronic, print or social media to foist the office of a former Advocate General and also with respect to the other alleged accused persons.

No social media posts shall be published and in this regard, the Director-General of Police, A.P. and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India shall take steps to inform the relevant social media platforms/houses in the present regard.

Matter to be listed after 4 weeks. [Dammalapati Srinivas v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 2020 SCC OnLine AP 817, decided on 15-09-2020]

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