Jagan’s “Not Before” Double Standard

When Chandrababu Naidu’s petition to strike down YS Vijayalakshmi’s PIL came before the High Court, Sakshi media and YSRC were on attack mode claiming Naidu was resorting to “not before” strategy by retaining advocates in such a way that the petition came before a favourable bench. They said this was a way of “gaming” the judicial system and went around shouting about this “injustice” for many days.

The Supreme Court too later struck down the Vijayalakshmi’s PIL saying it was politically motivated. The “not before” strategy was even explained to the Supreme Court by Jagan’s lawyers but the court did not find the theory credible. But not very surprisingly, now that it has to come to Jagan’s own bail petition, a very similar strategy is being used by the YSRCP leader.

There is a tradtion in high courts and the supreme court that judges who have any kind of a past relationship with a particular lawyer will not hear matters argued by the same to ensure that there is no appearence of partiality. This is referred to as “not before”.

When Ram Jethmalani withdrew Jagan’s bail petition from the Supreme Court saying additional information had to be furnished, it was expected he would again refile the petition with the same Advocate on Record. However, Jagan has now hired a different Advocate on Record and it is believed this was a strategic move to ensure the petition would not come before the current chief justice Thakur who is not very lenient on politicians facing corruption allegations. The first petition itself is believed to have been withdrawn because they did not want it to come before the CJ.(ABN)