news Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 05:30
The Karnataka government has approached the Supreme Court, appealing against the Karnataka High Court’s acquittal of former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. The Karnataka High Court had acquitted Jayalalithaa in May, saying that she was entitled to acquittal as the quantum of disproportionate assets was not more than 10 percent of the known sources of her income. Justice Kumaraswamy had said that the trial court judge Michael D’Cunha had miscalculated Jayalalithaa’s assets. Lawyer Sandesh Chouta told The News Minute that the main premise on which the judgment was being challenged was that Karnataka was not given an ample opportunity to act as prosecutor in the case. "That's our main grouse. Even though the Supreme Court allowed Karnataka to act as prosecution, time was not given to us," he said. Not giving the prosecution a chance to present its case properly violated the principle of natural justice, he said. "The High Court has said that all the incomes have to be read together, so that means High Court has not ruled out conspiracy," he added. Grounds for the appeal also was taking into consideration that the Karnataka government was not made party when an appeal was filed at the High Court against her conviction. Considering that the Karnataka government was the sole prosecuting agency, the appeal should not have been considered at that stage, said Chouta. In a petition filed on Tuesday, the Karnataka government said that the Karnataka High Court’s judgment was a “farce”, and that “arithmetical errors made the judgment illegal”. It also said that the judgment had resulted in “the miscarriage of justice” and should be quashed. In its appeal, Karnataka has also said that the mathematical and totalling errors in the judgement led to the acquittal and this nullifies the judgment. The appeal categorically says that on revaluation, disproportionate assets will go up from 8% to 76%. Karnataka has also demanded restoration of her disqualification. "Even if the arithmetic is right, the assets will come up to 34%. If you account for the errors, the disproportionate assets will shoot up to 76%," Chouta told TNM. The main grounds for the acquittal was that her assets were disproportionate by less than 10 %, meaning no criminal offence. However, the new retotalled figure of the assets disproportionate at 34% would completely change the whole scenario, said Chouta. Karnataka has filed an appeal running upto 2700 pages. The appeal also mentions that the High Court's valuation of Jayalalithaa's assets were less than the value of the properties as submitted by her lawyers.  The appeal also says that the consequences of corrupt acts, including Jayalalithaa's disqualification as an MLA has been erased illegally by an erroneous decision by the Karnataka High Court.   The Karnataka government's appeal comes at a time when Jayalalithaa is contesting by-poll elections from RK Nagar constituency in Chennai, to formalise her return as Chief Minister of the state.