The Karnataka government has informed the Supreme Court that the services of special judge M.S. Balakrishna, who was conducting the trial in the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and others, could not be extended beyond September 30, the date of his superannuation, as he expressed his unwillingness to continue in service.
In the writ petition, Ms. Jayalalithaa, Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudakaran said that without implementing the Supreme Court directions, the State government issued a notification on October 3 appointing G.B. Mudigoudar as the presiding judge with retrospective effect from October 1 until further orders.
The Special Judge on October 3 itself took up the case and directed them to appear in court on October 30. The apex court while granting exemption from personal appearance to Ms. Jayalalithaa on October 30 had asked others to appear in the court and accordingly they were present in the court.
The State government in its reply affidavit said the Supreme Court had passed the order on September 30 requesting the Karnataka High Court to consider extending the services of Mr. Balakrishna. On the same day Mr. Balakrishna had addressed a letter to the Registrar General of the High Court stating that he could not continue to work as special judge for personal reasons and requested that he be relieved from the charge of his post on September 30 itself. Accordingly, he was relieved.
The State said on October 1 orders were obtained from the High Court for provisionally appointing Mr. Mudigoudar as the presiding officer to take charge and the notification was issued on October 3.
On October 9, the High Court administrative committee held a meeting and it was resolved to refer the matter to the Full Court with regard to posting of an officer in the cadre of District Judge to succeed Mr. Balakrishna.
In view of the unwillingness of Mr. Balakrishna to continue, the Full Court at its meeting on October 28 asked the administrative committee to post a regular presiding officer and on October 29 the committee resolved to appoint John Michael Cunha as the special judge to conduct the trial of the DA cases.
The notification was issued on October 31 and Mr. Cunha assumed charge as the presiding officer on November 7, the State said and sought dismissal of the petition filed by Ms. Jayalalithaa and others. The case comes up for further hearing on November 19.