New Delhi: Supreme Court today delivered a split verdict on a DMK leader’s plea seeking removal of a public prosecutor from representing state in the Karnataka High Court which recently reserved verdict on an appeal of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in a disproportionate assets case. As a consequence of the split verdict, the matter was referred to Chief Justice H L Dattu to constitute a larger bench for an authoritative pronouncement.
Justice Madan B Lokur, heading the bench, allowed the plea of DMK leader K Anbazhagan seeking removal of Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Bhawani Singh and ordered a fresh hearing on the AIADMK chief’s plea against her conviction saying the proceedings have been “vitiated”. However, Justice R Banumathi differed with Justice Lokur and held that the SPP was duly authorised to represent the state before the Karnataka High Court as well. During the pronouncement, Justice Lokur said the delay in deciding the case was “extremely unfortunate” and the “criminal justice delivery system is a loser”. He also observed that “something drastic needs to done”.
The court on April 7 had reserved its verdict on the plea of Anbazhagan for Singh’s removal, raising questions about his impartiality as a prosecutor in the case. The DMK leader had alleged that the SPP was “hand in glove with an accused (Jayalalithaa)”. The apex court order had then made it clear that transferee state Karnataka, and not transferor state Tamil Nadu, will appoint the public prosecutor in the case, the plea had said.
However, Jayalalithaa had come out strongly in support of the SPP saying, “Bhawani Singh is not an intruder. He has a notification in his favour and in such matters, the de-facto doctrine also comes in his favour.” On October 17, the apex court had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa who was sent to jail by a trial court on September 27.