Karnataka government on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa’s plea for extension of the tenure of the judge trying the disproportionate assets case against her after his retirement on September 30 cannot be accepted.
“The extention after retirement cannot be given at all,” Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Karnataka government, told a bench comprising Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde, which is also examining the controversy surrounding the appointment and sacking of G. Bhawani Singh as Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in the case.
The Attorney General made the statement after the bench asked him “Should we take it that the State Government has decided not to extend the tenure of the trial judge“?
Mr. Vahanvati said the AIADMK supremo’s plea for continuing with the trial judge after his retirement “cannot be accepted for completing the trial“.
However, the bench said there had been instances when judges have been appointed on ad-hoc basis. At this, the Attorney General said ad-hoc judges are not appointed for part-heard matters and in the case in hand on the retirement of the present judge, the case will pass on to a judge who will be appointed in his place.
On the issue of the SPP, the bench said “we are not on the tight-spot” and that is why the entire record was called.
“Was there (Karnataka) the same government? When did the government change?” the bench said.
The Attorney General said the new government came on May 8 this year but the appointment of Bhawani Singh was done without any consultation between the State Government and the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.
“On the face of it, there was no consultation. The previous government did not object to his name referred by the Acting-Chief Justice. But that cannot be the waiver and that cannot be an estoppel (the principle which precludes a person from asserting something contrary to what is implied by previous action or statement),” Mr. Vahanvati said.