Two-member bench divided over appointment of special public prosecutor
Shivani Chaturvedi | April 16, 2015 | Chennai
The supreme court on Wednesday gave a split verdict on a petition challenging the appointment of G Bhawani Singh as special public prosecutor in former Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa’s disproportionate asset case.
Justice M B Lokur allowed the plea to remove the public prosecutor, but Justice R Banumathi argued the SPP had the authority to continue appeal in the Karnataka high court.
The verdict by the two-member bench has given anxious moment to Jaya loyalists and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) members.
However, there are some who have hopes of an early return of Jayalalithaa as chief minister.
Meanwhile, it is not seen as an entirely unexpected development. Former bureaucrat MG Devasahayam, and convenor of Chennai-based Forum of Electoral Integrity, speaking to Governance Now says, “Some people in the judiciary are making all efforts since day one to bring Jayalalithaa out.”
“What for there is sudden transfer of Karnataka chief justice Dhirendra Hiralal Waghela?,” he comments.
Devasahayam further says, “Case was registered against Jayalalithaa in 1997. In the same year Dravida Munnetra Kazhgam (DMK) chief, M Karunanidhi, the then chief minister, had set up special courts to try cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act, which included cases against Jayalalithaa too. Jayalalithaa challenged the decision in the Madras high court, where chief justice Manmohan Singh Liberhan heard it along with Justice D Raju. Before it could come to a verdict, Justice Raju was elevated as chief justice of Himachal Pradesh high court. As Justice Librehan was hearing the case he was about to be transferred to Guwahati high court, a transfer within six months of taking over as the Madras high court chief justice.”
“We started agitation against this. With the intervention of the then prime minister IK Gujralm, the transfer was held up and Liberhan continued at Madras high court,” he recollects.
Finally the decision supported the setting up of special courts, thus leading to trial of Jayalalithaa. However, within a few weeks, Justice Liberhan was shifted to Andhra Pradesh high court. “So, sudden transfers in this case have taken place in the past also. It’s a dirty game being played by some people in the judiciary. The entire system is collapsing,” Devasahayam expresses concern.
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