Saturday, May 23, 2015

Karnataka govt still undecided over appeal against Jayalalithaa acquittal // What can Justice Kumaraswamy do about 'errors' in Jayalalithaa judgment? // Do our senior judges know what is at stake here? Certainly not their ability to count..

NB: If neither the petitioner nor the Karnataka government appeal against this judgement, we may conclude that there are some amongst our high elite who are no longer shy of committing daylight robbery in full view of the public. It's not that they can't count. It's what they are counting that is the question. Who exactly is guilty of contempt of court here? DS

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday said the state government is yet to decide on filing an appeal in the Supreme Court against acquittal of Jayalalithaa who is set to stage a comeback as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister after her acquittal in the disproportionate assets case. "We have not yet taken any decision; ...law department is examining, they are studying the judgement, we will take a decision after getting inputs from them," Siddaramaiah said. "We will consider the opinion of Special Public Prosecutor B V Acharya and also the opinion from Law department and the Advocate General and then take a decision," he told reporters in New Delhi. Responding to a question, he said he had not contacted the party (Congress) high command on the issue.

The Karnataka High Court gave a clean chit to the AIADMK chief and three others, clearing them of "all charges" in the 19-year-old case on 11 May, paving the way for return of Jayalalithaa, who was chosen as legislature party leader by her party in Chennai on Friday, as CM. Meanwhile, Advocate General Ravivarma Kumar has said that he has advised the state government to file an appeal. "The judgement has flaws, so appeal has to be filed. I have advised the Karnataka government that as Karnataka is the sole prosecutor, it has to file an appeal," Kumar told a television channel. He said "as per law there is a 90-day time from the day the High Court gave its verdict, to file an appeal." Karnataka Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister T B Jayachandra had earlier this week said that the government would take "some more days" to decide on filing an appeal in the Supreme Court. B V Acharya has also made public his advice that he has asked Karnataka government to file an appeal as it was a "fit case" to do so.

The acquittal of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa by Karnataka High Court Justice CR Kumaraswamy in a Disproportionate Assets case has attracted criticism with regard to mathematical errors in the judgement. There exists a provision within the law to alter or review the verdict though. Section 362 of the CrPc says:  "Save as otherwise provided by this Code or by any other law for the time being in force, no Court, when it has signed its judgment or final order disposing of a case, shall alter or review the same except to correct a clerical or arithmetical error."  There has been much debate in political circles and on social media on the repercussions for the former Tamil Nadu CM if the Karnataka government decides to file an appeal. Legal experts have said although Justice Kumaraswamy cannot alter the verdict, alterations can be made in the judgment if clerical or mathematical errors were found. 

The section may thus allow Kumaraswamy to review the verdict after many have cited “errors” in the judgment. In a press statement, the DMK has said that they will file an appeal and have asked the Karnataka goverment to file an appeal as they had been the public prosecution in the case. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has also questioned the judgment calling it a “tragedy of arithmetic errors”. The public prosecutor in the case BV Acharya says that he has noticed the error too. "The DA will come to 16.34 crores as against 2 crore. Therefore, there is a glaring arithmetical error in terms of calculation. Fundamental mistake is in totaling 10 items of the loan,” he says, adding, “Since this glaring mistake has come to my notice, I'm considering all options available. If SC appeal is decided, this will be an excellent point.”   He added that a stay of the judgment is a “matter of deep consideration