Karnataka’s appeal against Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s acquittal in the disproportionate assets case will commence before the Supreme Court on February 23. The case which was originally slated for February 2 and to be heard on a day to day basis was postponed following an application made by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s counsel.
Karnataka government, in its plea against the acquittal, claimed that HC erred in computing disproportionate assets of the AIADMK leader.
Deccan Herald reports that the Karnataka government, DMK leader K Anbazhagan and BJP leader Subramanian Swamy have been allowed to intervene in the hearing of the special leave petition against the Karnataka High Court judgement of acquittal on May 11, 2015.
Deccan Chronicle reports that a bench of Justices Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Amitav Roy granted three weeks adjournment after senior counsel L. Nageswara Rao and Dushyant Dave sought adjournment on the ground that Justice Ghose is part of a Constitution bench hearing the Arunachal Pradesh President’s rule case next week.
In the last couple of weeks, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa launched a stinging attack on the Karnataka government for moving the Supreme Court against her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case, calling Karnataka’s involvement in it an “interference in the internal affairs of Tamil Nadu” and a violation of the federal scheme of the Constitution.
Jayalalithaa unleashed a 6 page document well ahead of the scheduled 2 February hearing in the Supreme Court. The six pager lists out the highlights of her argument defending her acquittal in 2015. In this, Jayalalithaa questions the locus stand of the State of Karnataka to even file a special leave petition or an appeal in the apex court for an alleged offence which took place in the Tamil Nadu.
The Chief Minister invoked Article 162 of the Constitution, which prescribes that the executive power of the State Executive is co-extensive with that of the State Legislature.
“Karnataka has no legislative power in respect of the affairs of the State of Tamil Nadu and consequently has no power to prosecute the alleged offender in the Supreme Court for offences committed in Tamil Nadu against the State of Tamil Nadu,” Ms. Jayalalithaa contended.
The Chief Minister argued that Karnataka got a role as “prosecutor” in the case only after the Supreme Court transferred the corruption case to it on November 18, 2004. If not for this transfer order, Karnataka had no involvement in the corruption case. It was neither the de facto complainant nor the de jure aggrieved party. No crime under the Prevention of Corruption Act or the Indian Penal Code has been committed against Karnataka, reports The Hindu.
Karnataka govt files “list of errors” in DA case
The Karnataka government has filed point-by-point highlights of “errors”by the Karnataka High Court in deciding the disproportionate assets case in favour of the AIADMK leader and three co-accused, reports The Hindu.
The State government’s main point is the value of disproportionate assets held by Jayalalithaa. The State is saying that the acquittal can be set aside by just correcting the “totalling mistake” to show that the value of disproportionate assets of the accused comes to Rs. 16.32 crore, that is 76.7 per cent of the income, against the 8.12 per cent arrived at by the High Court, reports The Hindu.
The Supreme Court has set 2 February as the date for hearing appeals against the acquittal of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
The Hindu reports that the Karnataka government has done the detailing of “errors” in a seven-page document and listed out 16 arguments against the May 2015 judgement of the Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy after which Jayalalithaa, her aide Sasikala Natarajan, V.N. Sudhakaran and J. Elavarasi walked free.
“Principally, the State government asks whether the bare fact that it was neither considered nor ignored as the “sole prosecuting agency” in the corruption case would not by itself vitiate the High Court judgment,” says The Hindu report.
The State wants the Supreme Court to address what would be the effect of not repairing this omission throughout the appeal hearings in the High Court till they were disposed of.
The Karnataka State document, filed by advocate Joseph Aristotle and settled by senior advocate B.V. Acharya, “asks whether the appeals were not vitiated as the duly appointed Public Prosecutor was “never given the opportunity” of an oral hearing.”
The bench, meanwhile, asked the counsel for both the parties to file the “issues” highlighting main points to be considered within the next two weeks.
Earlier the apex court had agreed to conduct day-to-day hearing on the appeals filed against the Karnataka High Court verdict acquitting Jayalalithaa and three others in the case.
On July 27, the apex court had issued notices on Karnataka government’s appeal seeking stay of the high court judgement, to Jayalalithaa, her close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives, V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, and asked them to file their replies within eight weeks.
The apex court had allowed an intervention application by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the matter and had asked him to file issues he wished to press before it.
The Karnataka HC had on May 11, 2015 ruled that AIADMK supremo’s conviction by special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
Karnataka government, in its plea against the May 11 order, claimed that HC erred in computing disproportionate assets of the AIADMK leader. The Karnataka government also asked whether the high court had “erred in law” by according benefit of doubt to Jayalalithaa in pursuance of a Supreme Court judgement holding that accused can be acquitted if his or her disproportionate assets were to the extent of ten per cent.
The state government had also claimed that the high court has erred in overruling preliminary objections raised by it and added that the accused had filed their appeals against conviction without impleading Karnataka as a party.
The special court had in 2014 held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 100 crore.
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