SC stays order injuncting YS Sharmila from making comments against YSRCP over uncle’s murder

Vivekananda Reddy was found murdered at his ancestral house in Pulivendula in Kadapa district in the early hours of 15 March, 2019.

ByPTI

Published May 18, 2024 | 11:56 AMUpdatedMay 18, 2024 | 11:56 AM

YS Sharmila.

The Supreme Court on Friday, 17 May, stayed an order passed by a district court in Andhra Pradesh injuncting state Congress chief YS Sharmila and others from making comments against YSR Congress Party and some of its members over the killing of her uncle and former MP YS Vivekananda Reddy, saying the injunction curtails the right to freedom of speech and expression.

A bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta passed the order while hearing Sharmila’s plea challenging an order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which had disposed of the appeal against the district court’s 16 April order.

The high court had directed the district court to expedite the hearing and disposal of the application seeking vacation of the ex-parte order against Sharmila, the estranged sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy, and others.

Vivekananda Reddy was found murdered at his ancestral house in Pulivendula in Kadapa district in the early hours of 15 March, 2019, when the general elections were round the corner.

Also Read: YS Sharmila uses Viveka’s murder as ammo as she kicked off poll campaign in Andhra

Court arguments

During the hearing before the apex court, senior advocate Gaurav Agrawal, appearing for Sharmila, said a political party had filed a suit and got an ex-parte injunction.

“On the eve of elections, see the nature of injunctions,” he told the bench, adding that application for vacating the ex-parte order was rejected on 8 May.

“I am praying for stay of this order,” he said, adding that contempt petitions were being filed for alleged violation of the injunction order.

The bench observed that the district court, even without providing an opportunity of being heard to the defendants, including Sharmila, had passed an order of injunction which has very serious ramifications.

“In effect, the injunction curtails the right of the defendant of freedom of speech and expression,” it said, adding, “In that view of the matter, we are inclined to stay the order dated 16 April, 2024 and all subsequent proceedings”.

The CBI has alleged that sitting Kadapa MP YS Avinash Reddy, a relative of Sharmila and Jaganmohan, and his father YS Bhaskar Reddy were among those behind Vivekananda Reddy’s murder, a charge denied by them. Avinash Reddy, the YSR Congress Party lawmaker, is considered very close to Jaganmohan Reddy.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing after the summer vacations of the apex court.

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