SC balm for Jaya in DA case
In a huge relief to Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the Supreme Court on Monday quashed the Karnataka government’s notification cancelling the appointment of special public prosecutor G Bhawani Singh.
The top court said the Congress government in Karnataka, where the case was transferred from Tamil Nadu, acted ‘malafide’ in removing the special PP in the DA case trial against Jayalalitha.
A bench of justices BS Chauhan and SA Bobde also asked the Karnataka high court and the state government to consider extending tenure of the special trial judge, who is scheduled to retire on Monday, as per the law.
‘The extension can be given as per the law and in consultation with the high court,’ the bench said, adding the trial court’s record runs into nearly 33,000 pages and the recording of statements of witnesses has also completed.
The apex court, on 25 September, had reserved its verdict on the issue of appointment and sacking of SPP Singh in the case and also on the AIADMK chief’s plea for extension of the tenure of the trial judge who is scheduled to retire on Monday.
Earlier during the proceedings, DMK general secretary K Anbalagan had opposed Jayalalithaa’s plea, saying that she and other accused were allegedly responsible for the protracted trial in the 17-year-old case.
Attorney general GE Vahanvati, appearing for Karnataka government, had also opposed the plea of Jayalalithaa on the SPP and for extension of the tenure of the special judge till the completion of the trial.
The bench had deliberated on the political overtones on the issue of the appointment and sacking Singh as the SPP.
‘Was there (in Karnataka) the same government? When did the government change,?’ the bench had asked.
The attorney general had said the new government came on 8 May this year but the appointment of Singh was done without any consultation between the state government and the chief justice of the Karnataka high court.
The bench, which had perused the records, had noted Singh, who has been sacked as SPP in the case, was appointed without any objection by Karnataka government to conduct the trial in the 17-year-old case.