KARNATAKA

Appointment of SSP quashed

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court has come down on the State Government on the appointment of a Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) in the Gownpalli (Kolar district) murder case and also quashed his appointment.

The petitioner, K.P. Shiva Reddy, had urged the court to quash the appointment of H.M. Thimmarayappa as the SPP in the case.

According to records, Mr. Thimmarayappa was appointed the SPP by the Law Secretary on a direction from the then Law Minister. This followed a representation from Surya Kalavathi, wife of Shamashankar Reddy, seeking the appointment of a SPP to handle the case.

The Government had accepted her request and appointed Mr. Thimmarayappa as SPP. It said the SSP would be paid by Ms. Kalavathi.

The petitioner said since the SPP was being paid by Mr. Kalavathi, he was not a public servant and, hence, could not be impartial.

He said the SPP would have to be paid by the State Government and not any individual. During the course of the hearing, records pertaining to the appointment of the SPP were examined. It revealed that the then MLA of Srinivasapura, Venkata Shiva Reddy, had recommended to the then Law Minister the name of Mr. Thimmarayappa as the SPP. He had also said that Mr. Thimmarayappa would be paid by Ms. Kalavathi.

Mr. Thimmarayappa had filed a statement saying he was appointed as the SPP after being consulted. Justice N. Kumar said the records did not show any consent from Mr. Thimmarayappa for his appointment.

He said there was nothing on record to show that Mr. Thimmarayyappa was consulted before being appointed as the SPP. He said the SPP had referred to the political rivalry and "dragged" the name of an MLA. He said the SPP "has acted as a spokesman of not even the complainant but of the MLA who got him appointed. The SPP is bent upon prosecuting the accused and wants a conviction at any cost. His statement shows that he is unable to prosecute the case with detachment. He has prejudices, preconceived notions and hostility towards the accused. Though he may not have his own axe to grind, he has allowed himself to be used by the then MLA and fight his (MLA's) political battle in court." Mr. Justice Kumar said the appointment of the SPP could not be sustained though there were no allegations against him in the writ petition.

He said the Government could appoint an SPP of the complainant's choice, if she so wished. Liberty was reserved to Ms. Kalavathi to file a representation in this regard.

In case Ms. Kalavathi was asked to pay the salary of the SPP, the Government was directed to quantify the amount. The judge directed her to deposit the money with the Government which, in turn, was asked to release it to the SPP. The judge quashed the appointment of Mr. Thimmarayappa as SPP.

Adjourned

A Division Bench comprising Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice H.N. Nagmohan Das on Monday adjourned further hearing on a petition by H.C. Yatish Kumar and others challenging the reservation of posts in the zilla panchayat and taluk panchayat.

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