‘Karnataka govt. committed contempt of court by not implementing apex court directives’

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and three other accused in the disproportionate assets cases have challenged the notification issued by the Karnataka government, appointing G.B. Mudigoudar to conduct the cases in a Bangalore court from October 1.

Besides Ms. Jayalalithaa, the other accused — V.K. Sasikala, V.N. Sudhakaran and J. Elavarasi — have alleged that by appointing Mr. Mudigoudar as the special judge, the Karnataka government had committed contempt of court by not implementing the apex court directions issued on September 30, quashing the notification revoking the appointment of G. Bhavani Singh as the special public prosecutor.

The Supreme Court, while allowing Mr. Singh to continue as the SPP, asked the State government and the High Court on its administrative side to consider extending the services of Mr. Balakrishna who attained the age of superannuation on September 30 to conclude the trial expeditiously.

The petitioners said that without implementing the apex court directions, the government issued a notification on October 3 appointing Mr. Mudigoudar as the presiding judge with retrospective effect from October 1 until further orders.

To add to this, the Special Judge on October 3 itself took up the case and directed them to appear in Court on October 30 when it was wholly unnecessary as the questioning under Section 313 Cr. PC was over, the defence had concluded the arguments and the prosecution was midway in concluding its arguments. They said “such an order was passed after making an observation that the accused are government servants which is incorrect. The High Court and the State government have not carried out the orders of this court in its letter and spirit and the actions of the State government, to say the least amounts to contempt of court.”

No meeting of judges

They submitted that to the best of their information there had been no meeting of the judges on the administrative side of the High Court, “which is the practice followed before any such appointment. This court had directed the High Court in its administrative side to consider the extension of the judge hearing the case. This court had not left this discretion to the Chief Justice of High Court alone. It was meant to be a decision of the High Court on its administrative side which ordinarily means the Chief Justice along with four of the senior most judges of the High Court of Karnataka.”

They said “from a perusal of the narration of facts, it will be clear the State government is acting only at the instance of the rival political parties (DMK), which wields enormous influence on the ruling party in the State of Karnataka viz., the Congress which is the ruling party of the Central government. The State of Karnataka is interfering in the administration of justice at the behest of a rival political party, which is interested in ensuring that the case never attains finality or at least till May 2014, when the general elections may be held.”

They sought quashing of the notification dated October 3 as it had been issued without following the mandate of this court to stay all further proceedings in the trial court and stay the operation of the order passed by the judge on October 3.