Names of some lawyers sent to acting Chief Justice for appointment as SPP
The trial of the 16-year-old disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa is likely to be delayed further as the post of Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) has now fallen vacant with “sudden” acceptance of resignation of B.V. Acharya, who had put in his papers five months ago.
Mr. Acharya had submitted his resignation to the Karnataka government on August 13, 2012 stating that he had suffered at hands of “interested parties” who wanted him to quit long ago, and the State government had forwarded his resignation to the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, on whose consent he was appointed in February 2004.
However, the then Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen did not give his consent for the resignation and the papers remained in the office of the Chief Justice since August 2012, pointed out sources in the Law Department.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice Sen was elevated as judge of the Supreme Court on December 24, 2012 and following this the senior-most Judge in the High Court, Justice K. Sreedhar Rao, was appointed acting Chief Justice.
Within a few days after assuming office, acting Chief Justice Rao agreed to accept Mr. Acharya’s resignation. And with this the Law Department issued a Government Order on January 17, 2013, indicating that Mr. Acharya’s resignation stands accepted.
“We did not anticipate sudden acceptance of resignation of Mr. Acharya as it was submitted five months ago. Now we have sent names of some lawyers to the acting Chief Justice for his consent for appointing any one of them to the post of SPP,” said the source.
The Supreme Court, which in November 2003 transferred the case to Bangalore from Chennai for a fair trial, had directed the Karnataka government to appoint, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, a senior lawyer having experience in criminal trials as special public prosecutor, who in turn be entitled to assistance of another lawyer of his choice.
Though Mr. Acharya submitted his resignation in August last, in the absence of its acceptance Mr. Acharya remained as SPP on record though it was his assistant, Sandesh J Chouta, who continued argument before the Special Court till second week of January this year.
Due to sudden creation of vacancy in the post of SPP, the proceedings in the case before the Special Court here are likely to be impacted.
The prosecution, during the last proceedings on January 21, could not respond to the pleas of the accused for summoning certain documents as evidence in their support due the vacancy in the post of SPP and his assistant.
Following this, the Special Court adjourned proceedings to February 4 for examining the defence witnesses.
Trial to be hit
Even if the new Special Public Prosecutor is appointed within next a few days, it will still impact on the progress in the trial as the new legal team will require sufficient time to study the case papers, evidences, etc, said the sources.