Setback to K'taka govt in Jaya case

Setback to K'taka govt in Jaya case

The Congress-led Karnataka government suffered a setback on Monday after the Supreme Court struck down its order removing G Bhavani Singh as prosecutor in the disproportionate assets case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalitha, describing it as “mala fide”.

A bench of Justices B S Chauhan and S A Bobde quashed the notification, issued by the State government on September 16 in consultation with the chief justice of the Karnataka High Court.

Noting that the decision was goaded with the change of government in May, the bench allowed a plea made by the AIADMK leader who contended that the removal of Singh would prolong trial in the 17-year-old case.

Singh was appointed special public prosecutor on February by the then acting chief justice, despite his name not being recommended by the government.

The new Congress government, however, issued a notification in August, removing him. But since it was not in consultation with the chief justice, they withdrew that order and issued a fresh one, removing Singh from the case, a decision challenged by Jayalalitha.

“Though there is undoubtedly power with the government to withdraw or revoke the appointment, the exercise of power appears to be vitiated in the present case by mala fide in law inasmuch as it is apparent on record that the switch-over of government in between has resulted in a sudden change of opinion that is abrupt for no discernible, legally sustainable reason. The sharp transitional decision was an act of clear unwarranted indiscretion actuated by an intention that does not appear to be founded on good faith,” the bench said.

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