Supreme Court criticises Karnataka for being ambiguous about prosecutor in Jayalalithaa DA case
news Saturday, March 28, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute| March 26, 2015| 10.40 pm IST The Supreme Court on Thursday hauled up Karnataka for not taking any position on the appointment of a prosecutor to appear before the high court in the hearing of the appeal by former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa, who has challenged her conviction and sentencing in a disproportionate assets case. Taking exception to the Karnataka government invoking the shield of "neutrality" over the appointment, the bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice R. Banumathi wondered what if the "matter goes ex-parte before the high court". As Karnataka government counsel pleaded that "when we are not a party before the trial court, we are not a party before the high court", the apex court said: "In sum and substance, your advocate general says nothing before the high court, you are also taking the same position." The court's drubbing of the position taken by Karnataka came during the hearing of a petition of DMK leader K. Anbazhagan, who contested the appointment of G. Bhavani Singh as prosecutor by the Tamil Nadu government. Anbazhagan said Tamil Nadu government has no jurisdiction to do so. He said the authority to appoint a prosecutor was vested in the Karnataka government after the trial was transferred from Tamil Nadu. The court was told that Karnataka's advocate general did object to the appointment of Bhavani Singh by Tamil Nadu, but the high court disposed of the plea at the preliminary stage. Karnataka said the appointment of Bhavani Singh as special public prosecutor came to an end with the conclusion of Jayalalithaa's trial in the assets case. The apex court asked that apart from the advocate general telling the high court that Bhavani Singh could not appear as prosecutor, "did you take steps to prevent him from appearing before the high court? (It) is one thing to say in words, (but) quite another (to do) in deeds". Describing as "absolutely bizarre" Tamil Nadu appointing Bhavani Singh as prosecutor before the Karnataka High Court, counsel T.R. Andhyarujina, appearing for petitioner Anbazhagan, told the court that once the case is transferred to another state, it comes under the jurisdiction of the transferee state to appoint a prosecutor. Contesting the appointment of Bhavani Singh on the question of law and facts, Andhyarujina said his conduct was adversely commented upon by the trial court judge. Opposing the plea by Andhyarujina, counsel Fali Nariman told the court that Tamil Nadu appointed Bhavani Singh as prosecutor only after Karnataka did not appoint one. Nariman will continue with his arguments on April 1 when the matter comes up for further hearing. The high court on March 11 reserved its verdict on Jayalalithaa and others on an appeal challenging the Bengaluru court's September 27, 2014, order convicting Jayalalithaa of possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income and sentencing her to four jail terms and Rs.100 crore fine. The case against Jayalalithaa and three others relates to the period from 1991 to 1996 involving Rs.66.65 crore when she became chief minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time. IANS
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