A Special leave petition was filed questioning the High Court order regarding the conduct of inquiry on the authenticity of a conversation when the same had already been done by admitting the transcripts of the conversation. The Supreme Court held that such an inquiry was not required before hearing the party involved and when the authenticity was already verified from the annexures. This judgment was passed in the case of Justice V. Ewaraiah (Retd.) vs. Union of India & ors. [SLP No.6100/2021] by a Double Bench consisting of Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan and Hon’ble Justice R. Subhash Reddy.
The facts of the present Special Leave Petition was, the respondent no.5 – a BC SC ST Minority Student Federation was a registered society under the Society Registration Act and vide public interest litigation prayed for the court to direct, respondent no.1 and other respondents to ensure law and order in light of the pandemic. Respondent No.3, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh represented by the Registrar General filed a preliminary counter-affidavit pleading that the petition had been filed by a political person for political gain and to malign the High Court. it was also pleaded that after retirement the petitioner had obtained a post-retirement office and after achieving the same he wanted to support the State Government under the cover of BC association maligning the High Court. An I.A. was filed by S.Ramakrishna and alleged there was a conversation between the petitioner and him regarding a letter of the All India Backward Classes Federation. The High Court after allowing interventions and I.A. within the case held that Retired Justice R. Raveendran submits a report on the authenticity of the conversation contained in the pen- drive. Aggrieved the above order, the petitioner filed an SLP before the Supreme Court.
After hearing both the parties under the Special Leave Petition, the Supreme Court did not allow the two intervention applications, requested. The petitioner had submitted that the invention applies in high court should not have been entertained since the high court had already closed for preliminary objections and the High Court should not have ordered for the investigation without hearing the petitioner. The Supreme Court held that there was no reason for the High Court to call for an inquiry by a Retired Judge into the authenticity or genuineness when they had already admitted and read the transcript of the audio.
The Supreme court also held that when the Intervention application was filed before High Court to reopen the writ petition, the only inquiry that the High Court should have taken was the maintainability of the PIL at the instance of the writ petitioner and the conversation filed before the court. The court also held that the inquiry report can be looked into only after giving the petitioner a chance to be heard.
The Supreme Court concluded by holding, “it is for the High Court to proceed with the writ petition and decide the same, including the maintainability of the PIL, after hearing arguments on which point the orders were reserved.”