Supreme Court relief to Jayalalitha: Uncanny questions
Viewpoint: The case of Jayalalitha and Lalu yadav are transparent stories of contrast – when it comes to justice
Faraz Ahmad Delhi
The Supreme Court yesterday, set aside the decision of the Karnataka government to replace its public prosecutor G Bhawani Singh in the Disproportionate Assets case against Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha, an Iyengar Brahmin, which when read with the recent judgments of the apex court and its subordinate courts, singularly targeting OBC leader Lalu Prasad and a Muslim politician Rasheed Masood, widely known for his financial integrity, forces us to wonder at the saying that justice should not just be done but seen to have been done as well.
The Congress government in Karnataka through its notification of August 26 withdrew the appointment of G Bhavani Singh as the public prosecutor, whom the outgoing BJP government in Karnataka had appointed evidently in a gesture of reciprocity for Jayalalitha’s softness towards not just the BJP but its PM candidate Narendra Modi, though at the time of Bhawani Singh’s appointment there was no talk of Modi’s PM ambition. But Jaya has enjoyed a comfort level with Modi for long.
The Supreme Court described the notification as “malafide” even while acknowledging that, “Though there is an undoubted power with the government to withdraw or revoke the appointment…but that exercise of power appears to be vitiated in the present case by malafides in law in as much as it is apparent on record that the switch over of the government in between has resulted in a sudden change of opinion…,” held the bench of Justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde.
Anyway now the apex court has given the Tamil Nadu chief minister a sham of prosecutor of her choice, who will hopefully make a hash of the 17 year old DA case against her. It won’t be long, perhaps, before the next general elections will be over, that the collusion between the BJP and the prosecution agencies will see Jayalalitha acquitted of all corruption charges and she will be ready to support a BJP-led government at the Centre
The Karnataka government pointed out to the learned judges that this appointment was tainted since his name was not among the list of lawyers deemed suitable for prosecuting the 1996 Disproportionate Assets Case against Jayalalitha relating to assets worth Rs 66.65 crore over and above her accountable sources of income. The state government also pointed out that Bhawani Singh was appointed without proper consultations by the previous government. The trial is currently underway in Bangalore, where it was shifted from Chennai by the Supreme Court in 2003 after apprehending that as the chief minister of the state (2001-6) she could influence its proceedings, following the fears expressed by the prosecuting agencies. Significantly, the previous BJP government appointed Bhawani Singh in February, 2013 days before the Karnataka assembly elections were announced when the BJP’s ouster from power looked near certain.