Hyderabad: In an unprecedented move, after acquitting all the accused in the Macca Masjid bomb blast case, Judge of the NIA Court K. Ravinder Reddy submitted his resignation.
Fourth Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge and Judge of the NIA Court at Nampally Court Complex Ravinder Reddy, who acquitted five accused in the case, sent a letter to the Metropolitan Sessions judge and Chief Justice of the High Court stating that he was resigning on personal grounds.
The resignation of Reddy, who is also the president of TS Judicial Officers’ Association, has shocked the Judiciary though he had cited personal grounds for his resignation. Following Reddy’s resignation, several netizens, including journalists, reacted on social media that the judge might have delivered the verdict under pressure.
Justice B. Chandra Kumar, former judge of the Hyderabad High Court, said that it is the first case in the history of the High Court where a Judge resigned soon after delivering the verdict in a sensational case.
He said, “If a judge delivers a verdict consciously, he would not be shaken by any pressure. He would not quit from post unless and until he feels guilty about his verdict.”
Explaining the normal circumstances wherein a judge resigns from the post, Justice Chandra Kumar said that generally, the subordinate judges, who are at the verge of retirement, resigns from the post when they get assurance that inquiry will not be conducted against them for the charges of corruption against them if they resign from the post.
Ravinder Reddy is said to be having two more months of service to retire. He was suspended in June 2016, along with 10 other judicial officers, for their silent rally on June 26, 2016 against the provisional allocation of Subordinate Judicial Officers between states of AP and TS. The suspension had triggered the strike of judicial officers and staff of TS. Later in July 2016, the Chief Justice had revoked their suspension. Sources revealed that Reddy had faced pressure from the members of the association, after the HC permitted TS ACB to book disproportionate cases against three judges in TS.
When Deccan Chronicle tried to get the response of some sitting judges of the HC and the SC, they refrained from reacting on the judge’s resignation.
N. Ramachandra Rao, member of the Bar Council of India said, “Reddy’s resignation is unfortunate. As far as the judgment is concerned, he delivers it very judiciously.”
AIMIM president and Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi called the resignation ‘intriguing’ and said:“The Judge who gave acquittal to all the accused in Mecca Masjid Blast resigns. Very intriguing and I am surprised with the Lordship’s decision.”
Senior lawyers demand retrial
Senior High Court advocate Shafeeq Rehman Mahajeer said that the credibility of investigation agencies is at stake when such judgments, like that of the Macca Masjid blast verdict, come out.
“People have faith in the investigation agencies. After 11 long years, when the accused are acquitted citing lack of clinching evidence, it shows the poor homework or ground work of the agencies,” he said.
He said that the courts depend on material evidence and when the agencies are not able to provide them or satisfy the courts, then they are bound to release the people. “Without concrete evidence, no one can be sentenced or pronounced guilty. There are certain procedures and the NIA failed to provide clinching evidence before the court,” Mr Mahajeer said.
Another senior advocate Khalid Saifullah said that from the beginning, prosecution in the case was unfair. “About 50 witnesses in the case turned hostile. The trial was proceeding in the pace of minor cases. While senior officials monitored such sensitive cases usually, no such initiative was taken here,” he said.
“An inquiry should be done. In several such sensitive cases, retrial was conducted. A retrial should be done in the case,” Saifullah said.
However, defense advocate J .P. Sharma termed that the names of the five accused, who were acquitted in the Macca Masjid blast case, came up as the result of a political conspiracy of the then UPA government.
“It was a bogus story of the previous UPA government, which was created by some of the political leaders, to create sensation and to divide the people of the country. We hope no political leader says such things in the future,” he said.
Sharma said that after the verdict, Swami Aseemanand said that he has full faith in the judiciary of the country. The court held that the confessional statement of Aseemanand was not voluntary. “The CBI had got the statement of Aseemanand recorded in Delhi while he was in police custody during December 2010,” Sharma said. He said the investigation officer who ‘extracted’ the confession statement of Aseemanand cited two different dates in two different cases. “During Ajmer bomb blast trial, the official said that Aseemanand expressed his intention to confess in December 10 while the same official said in another instance that Aseemanad desired to confess on December 16,” Sharma added.