Don’t delay appeal, Karnataka told

Acquitted by the Karnataka HC in the disproportionate assets case, Ms. Jayalalithaa assumed office on May 23, 2015.  

Karnataka Advocate-General Ravivarma Kumar on Friday cautioned the State government that it would be a “great travesty of justice” to allow the >High Court’s acquittal of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets (DA) case to become “final” by not appealing against it in the Supreme Court.

Key issues:

1 Karnataka Advocate-General says it is incumbent upon the State to appeal against HC ruling.
2 Karnataka has Constitutional right as sole prosecutor to file appeal.
3 State has powers to appoint Special Counsel.
4 State asked to appoint senior advocate B.V. Acharya as Special Counsel.
5 Failure to file appeal will be betrayal of SC's trust in Karnataka.

The State, sitting in the seat of sole prosecutor and having earned an order of conviction in the trial court, had to file the appeal as the High Court verdict was “unsustainable,” he said, in response to the two clarifications sought by the Law Department.

High reputation

The Supreme Court, the A-G pointed out, while transferring the >DA case to Karnataka in 2003, had “trusted [the] high reputation of the Karnataka judiciary, and the State, as the prosecutor.”

“This trust on [Karnataka’s] legal system demands steps to be taken to take the [DA] case to the logical end. It is the power coupled with the duty and it is utmost important to file the special leave petition [SLP] against [the] High Court’s verdict before the Supreme Court,” Mr. Kumar said.

“Not to do so [filing SLP] would not only be a great travesty of justice but betrayal of the trust reposed by the Supreme Court in the Karnataka State,” he said, while stating that the clarifications sought were not relevant for taking a decision on the appeal.

‘Appoint Acharya’

Reiterating his earlier recommendation that the SLP should be filed at the earliest, Mr. Kumar also advised the State to appoint senior advocate B.V. Acharya as special counsel to argue the case on behalf of the State.

The Law Department had asked the A-G whether sanction from the “competent authority” was required to file the appeal, and whether consent from the High Court’s Chief Justice was needed to appoint a special counsel to argue the case before the apex court.

The Advocate-General said that no sanction was necessary from any authority as it was the constitutional right of the government to file an appeal, and consent from the Chief Justice to appoint special counsel was also not needed as the State had the power to do so under the Karnataka Law Officers (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 1977.

Our Chennai Correspondent adds

Ramaswamy seeks DMK support

The day AIADMK announced Chief Minister Jayalalithaa as the candidate for the >by-election to the R.K. Nagar Assembly constituency, social activist ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy met DMK president M. Karunanidhi, treasurer M.K. Stalin and Desiya Murpokku Dravidia Kazhagam leader Vijayakant and sought their support for his candidature.

Mr. Karunanidhi said his party was likely to support the social activist. “Our general secretary K. Anbazhagan is not well. Either me or Stalin will consult him before announcing our stand,” he told reporters after Mr. Ramaswamy called on him.

Mr. Ramaswamy also met Mr. Vijayakant at his party headquarters here.

Meanwhile, the talks between the State unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Mr. Vijayakant on contesting the by-poll remained inconclusive.

The clinching argument

The value of disproportionate assets was Rs. 2.82 crore and this value was not enough to convict them on charges of corruption, said Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy in his verdict while disagreeing with the verdict of the Special Court, which had computed the value of DA at Rs. 53.6 crore.

AIADMK chief keeps her plans under wraps

In a statement, Ms. Jayalalithaa said the verdict gave her immense satisfaction and proved that she was innocent. She warned her political opponents to end their conspiracies against her and thanked the partymen and people who prayed for her. But she did not reveal any of her plans. > Read more

What the SPP said

“Counsel for the accused were allowed to make oral arguments for nearly two months, but no prosecutor authorised by Karnataka was present during such arguments,” B.V. Acharya said. > Read more


>Trial, errors and judgment - Sanjay Hegde

After a long and convoluted progress through the courts, Ms. Jayalalithaa has finally been acquitted by the High Court. But this might not be the end of the morality play, with another appeal looking likely.

>Amma’s apogee moment - A.R. Venkatachalapathy

History, the Marxist cliché goes, repeats itself twice — usually as a tragedy and then as a farce. But sometimes it repeats itself as a bigger tragedy. As the implications of the Karnataka High Court’s blanket acquittal of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa are thrashed threadbare, some crucial cultural questions remain to be explored.

>Where loyalty trumps all - Meera Srinivasan

Loyalty, in a sense, has been the hallmark of Tamil Nadu politics. A person’s political commitment is primarily judged, in political circles, by her steely resolve to stick to a leader no matter what he or she is accused of. So what if critics label their leaders corrupt, authoritarian or power-hungry? “None like our leader,” they will vouch, with unmistakable earnestness.

How DA came to account for less than 10% of income

  • Vigilance probe’s findings:
    Construction costs: Rs.27,79,88, 945
    Marriage expenses: Rs.6,25,04,222
  • High Court’s findings: Construction costs: Rs.5,10,54,060
    Marriage expenses: Rs.28,68,000
  • Exaggerated value:
    Construction costs: Rs.2,69,34,885
    Marriage expenses: Rs.6,16,36,222
  • Total assets:
    Vigilance estimate - Exaggerated value
    Rs. 37,59,02,466
  • Disproportionate assets: Total assets - Total income
  • Rs.37,59,02,466-Rs.34,76,65,654 = Rs.2,82,36,812
  • Rs.2,82,36,812 x 100/Rs.34,76,65,654= 8.12%

The Hindu Editorial

  • > A sensational comeback The Karnataka HC’s judgment absolving Ms. Jayalalithaa of the grave charge that she amassed wealth illegally is undoubtedly a resounding political victory for her.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2021 12:27:46 PM |

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