SC expresses reservations in Karnataka land-grabbing case

Representational image. File

Representational image. File   | Photo Credit: S. Subramanium

NGO had intervened to fight case involving Yediyurappa and Shivakumar

The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed reservations about an NGO, Samaj Parivartana Samudaya, intervening to fight a land-grabbing case allegedly involving Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Congress leader D.K. Shivakumar when the original complainant had himself withdrawn from the litigation.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde asked advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, to make good its claim that it did not parachute into the case at the level of the Supreme Court but had been doggedly fighting for justice right from the level of the Karnataka Lokayukta.

The court gave the NGO two weeks’ time to provide proof of its long-standing involvement in the case and that it too had filed a separate complaint with the Lokayukta.v The original complainant and petitioner in the case, Kabbale Gowda, had suddenly withdrawn his case from the Supreme Court on February 21, 2019.


It was then that the NGO had intervened to get the apex court to re-call its order disposing off the petition. Mr. Bhushan, who had earlier appeared for Mr. Gowda and is now representing the NGO, said the case had seen many such complainants become “compromised” and bow out. In the previous hearing in March 2019, Mr. Bhushan had urged the court to list the case again for hearing on merits, saying it concerned “corruption and crime” across party lines in the State. He had alleged how neither the Lokayukta nor the State government challenged the Karnataka High Court’s decision in December 2015 to quash charges.

On Tuesday, Chief Justice Bobde orally observed that the NGO cannot “ride piggy-back” on Mr. Gowda’s petition, especially after the latter had withdrawn from the case. “You are riding on someone else’s shoulders. You cannot do that.. This person [Gowda] has withdrawn. Now, you can file separately to pursue your own case… And if you claim that you had filed a complaint with the Lokayukta, show us what happened to that complaint… Was it dismissed or allowed?” Chief Justice Bobde addressed Mr. Bhushan in court. Mr. Gowda’s petition was originally filed in the Supreme Court against a Karnataka High Court decision in December 2015 to set aside a trial court order of February 2012 to prosecute the politicians and other accused persons. The High Court had quashed the entire criminal proceedings. Mr. Gowda was the de-facto complainant in the case.

The history of the land measuring over five acres dates back to 1962 and reveals the alleged corrupt acts, right from the level of the village accountant to the then Chief Minister, Mr. Gowda’s petition had said in the apex court.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 6:50:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/sc-expresses-reservations-in-karnataka-land-grabbing-case/article30506408.ece

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