The Supreme Court today chided Karnataka for allowing a special public prosecutor, appointed to conduct trial in the assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, to represent it also in the High Court during appeal proceedings.
“Once the trial is over, (Bhawani) Singh (special public prosecutor) has no authority to appear in the appeal proceeding before High Court,” the counsel for Karnataka government told a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur and R Banumathi.
To this, the bench said “why didn’t you prevent him from appearing? ...Even after that, you did nothing. It is one thing to say in words and another thing to do in deeds. You have only said it in words.”
The bench was hearing a plea of DMK leader K Anbazhagan seeking removal of Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Bhawani Singh, raising questions about his impartiality as prosecutor in the case. Anbazhagan has also sought a stay of appeal proceedings before the High Court in the case.
It questioned the stand of Karnataka government that despite the fact that it had not authorised the SPP to appear in High Court in the case, it took no steps in this regard.
The bench asked why the state government did not appoint another prosecutor for the High Court and termed its non-filing of a response in the apex court as “strange”.
The bench said it would decide the question whether in law, an SPP, appointed to conduct trial in a case, could appear at a later stage in appellate courts too. Earlier, the court had issued notice to the AIADMK chief and other convicts - Jayalalithaa’s aide Sasikala, two of her relatives and Karnataka government on the plea of the DMK leader.
The apex court had in last December extended by four months the bail of Jayalalithaa and asked the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court to constitute a special bench to decide on her plea expeditiously within three months.
On October 17, the apex court had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa who was sent to jail by a trial court on September 27.
The 66-year-old politician, who had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9 after she was denied it by the Karnataka High Court, had submitted that she had been sentenced to only four years jail and was suffering from various ailments, as grounds for immediate relief.
The Special Court had held Jayalalithaa and three others guilty of corruption. The court had also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on the AIADMK chief and Rs 10 crore fine on each of the three other convicts.