Selective Media Attempted to Tarnish My Image, Says Telangana HC Judge Who Granted Bail to Avinash Reddy

Justice M Laxman of the Telangana High Court, who granted anticipatory bail to YSR Congress Party Lok Sabha member from Kadapa Y S Avinash Reddy on May 31, has expressed anguish over attempts by a section of Telugu TV news channels to “tarnish” his image.

Justice Laxman in the order pronounced in the anticipatory bail plea filed by the Kadapa MP, said he felt he must place on record certain attempts by “selective media to thwart and derail judicial process by making attempts to tarnish my image and attempts to intimidate and threaten to derail independent thought process in arriving at just decision in this matter”

Referring to remarks against him by participants of debates in two Telugu TV news channels on May 26, Justice Laxman said the individuals of selective media houses “facilitated and abetted” the airing of views of “selective personnel of their choice” despite knowing their antecedents to intimidate, to threaten and to “damage my reputation by personal attack”.

Justice Laxman in his order said one of the participants, who is a suspended and detained judge, made a direct attack by saying “money bags went to the judge”.

Another participant, who seems to be holding respectable office, “used derogatory language and gestures which are aimed to tarnish my comprehension and competency abilities by his mis-interpretation and misunderstanding of deliberations of Court proceedings,” the high court judge said in the order copy.

Stating that he is least worried about such attempts to tarnish his image, as it is “indestructible” and “if such image is prone to destruction, it is not image at all”, Justice Laxman, added, “All that concerned me is inroads of such actions to damage institutional image…It is high time to protect the image by concerted efforts.”

The judge said he was “greatly hurt” not by individual comment but by the facilitation and abetment done by selective media.

“In my view, such actions clearly amount to invocation of proceedings under contempt of Courts Act, but I desist to do so, leaving it open to the head of the institution to take or not to take action,” he said.

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He said that at one stage he thought of recusal (from hearing the MP’s anticipatory bail petition), but changed his mind being remindful of the oath of office particularly “discharge of duties without fear”.

Justice Laxman directed the High Court Registry to place this order and the video clippings of debates of the two news channels over present proceedings before the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court to take appropriate decision.

He clarified that he has the greatest regard for press and news media, which is the fourth estate and important to preserving democracy. “They have every right to express their opinion touching merits of any decision which is essential in rightful democracy. Day by day, reputation of such important institution is eroding but for some individuals,” he noted.

The Telangana High Court on Wednesday granted anticipatory bail to Avinash Reddy in connection with the murder of former Andhra Pradesh minister and his uncle YS Vivekananda Reddy. Reddy was asked not to leave the country without prior permission of the CBI, and to cooperate with the investigation.

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