The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday adjourned till May 15 hearing on the petitions filed by Director-General of Police and Chairman of the Karnataka State Police Housing Corporation Shankar M. Bidari and the State government challenging the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Bangalore, setting aside Mr. Bidari's appointment as the State police chief.
Both Mr. Bidari and the government filed memos before the court seeking adjudication of their petitions after the Supreme Court on April 24 stayed the Karnataka High Court order quashing Mr. Bidari's appointment and directed the High Court to decide the matter afresh before May 31.
The Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice H.S. Kempanna, which had quashed the appointment, held a special sitting on Tuesday to hear the matter as the court is closed for summer vacation.
The Bench directed the government to place before it the depositions of Eramma and Nagi, victims of the alleged atrocities by the Special Task Force led by Mr. Bidari during the hunt to nab Veerappan, that were made before the Sadashiva Commission of Inquiry.
As the Supreme Court had said that the High Court had passed the order on assumptions, without going into the reports of the Sadashiva Commission and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), the Bench said it would restrict itself to the two reports and pass appropriate orders.
The Bench said, “We are in a once bitten, twice shy situation. So we will not proceed further till all the material is placed before us. This court is interested in truth. We had only extracted the statements of Eramma and Nagi. We had not indicted [Mr.] Bidari and only discussed about the torture as told by these two women.”
The Supreme Court while staying the High Court order had said it was of the prima facie view that the findings of the Sadashiva Commission and the NHRC were not relevant considerations for the empanelled officers. Yet, the court said, it was not going into the merits of the issue at that stage, leaving the same to the High Court to decide.
The High Court in its March 30 judgement had upheld the March 19 CAT verdict. The court had also directed the government to appoint the senior most IPS officer, A.R. Infant, who had moved the CAT, as the DG and IGP. Mr. Infant had argued that Mr. Bidari should not have been empanelled for consideration to the DG and IGP's post in view of his indictment by the NHRC.