No extension to Jayalalithaa case judge, Karnataka tells SC
Karnataka Tuesday opposed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's plea for extension of service to the judge holding trial in a corruption case against her upon his retirement at the end of this month.
"My argument is that extension can't be given at all" and for doing so (giving extension) there has to be power which is not there, Attorney General G.E.Vahanvati told a bench of Justice B.S.Chauhan and Justice S.A.Bobde.
As senior counsel Shekhar Naphade appearing for Jayalalithaa pointed out that apex court can do it under Article 142 of the constitution, Vahanvati said that Article 142 can't be invoked and the court was being asked to do something that was "contrary to and inconsistent with law."
Wondering the kind of precedent that was being sought to be set, Vahanvati said: "There is no such legal right to have a case heard by a particular judge or seek extension upon superannuation. It will create a serious situation."
"What is the precedent that is being sought to set," he said as Naphade asked: "Do we take it that government of Karnataka has already decided that the judge will not be given extension."
Vahanvati articulated the Karnataka's stand in the course of the hearing of Jayalalithaa's plea that Special Public Prosecutor Bhavani Singh, who was withdrawn from the case, be brought back and trial court judge be given extension upon his retirement Sep 30.
As Vahanvati told the court on how Bhavani Singh was appointed as SPP in the case, the court asked why it was not objected to then and why the high court recommended his name.
"I can't answer what that (then Bharatiya Janata Party) government did and why it acquiesced," he said.
Jayalalithaa and two other accused in the case have moved the apex court challenging the withdrawal of Bhavani Singh as SPP from the case. Besides this, she is seeking extension to the trial court judge upon his retirement.
The Tamil Nadu chief minister has contended that removal of Bhavani Singh and not giving extension to the trial court judge would further delay the proceedings in the case that is pending for last 18 years.
She contended that trial in the matter has nearly completed and Bhavani Singh was on the third day of his final arguments when Karnataka government withdrew him from the case.
She has alleged collusion between the Karnataka government and her detractor and opponent DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan.
The case that relates to the period when she was chief minister 1991-1996 and involves an amont Rs.66 crore disproportionate to her known sources of income. The trial in the case was shifted outside Chennai by the apex court in 2003 to ensure a free and fair trial.
Hearing will continue on Wednesday.
(Posted on 24-09-2013)