New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its order on a petition challenging the appointment of Justice N V Ramana as a judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court despite pendency of a criminal case against him.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai reserved its order on a PIL filed by one M Manohar Reddy challenging the appointment on the ground that Ramana was a proclaimed offender at the time of his appointment in a case of rioting and destruction of public property in 1981 when he was a student of Nagarjuna University.

The court, however, said it was not possible for it or government authority to know about the pending case and the record of the case says that the trial court had declared him proclaimed offender in violation of the Criminal Procedure Code.

"The inquiry report says that even proclamation was declared without following the Criminal Procedure Code," the bench said.

"There was no possibility of its knowing. Perhaps the presiding officer of the court, where the case is pending, might not also be aware about the case. Only the complainant and the subordinate staff of the court might be knowing about the case," it said.

The Attorney General submitted that courts cannot pass order for removal of a high court judge and it is for Parliament to take action through impeachment.

"Court cannot issue quo warranto. The matter has to be referred to the Parliament which can undertake the proceedings. If the Parliament chooses not to proceed then the lordships are bound by it," the AG said.

The bench also said that justice Ramana's appointment as a High Court judge was turned down by the collegium twice but he elevated only the President, the central government, and the law minister had asked for it.

Senior advocate Shanti Bhushan, appearing for the petitioner, objected to the government's interference in the judicial appointment and said that it was done under their pressure.

(Agencies)

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