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Karnataka to appeal to apex court against Jayalalithaa acquittal

The Karnataka government today decided to appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case.

“The state cabinet has accepted the recommendation of the special public prosecutor (BV Acharya) and state advocate general (Ravivarma Kumar) to appeal against the May 11 Karnataka high court verdict, which acquitted Jayalalithaa in the case,” state Law Minister TB Jayachandra told reporters here.

Acharya had recently come out strongly in support of the appeal, after the acquittal has been severely criticsed.

Though the ruling Congress’s legal cell recently advised against such appeal, as the state government was not a party to the 19-year-old case, the cabinet endorsed the opinion of the AG and SPP on merits after the apex court ruled that Karnataka was the sole prosecuting agency as the case was transferred to the state in 2003 from a Chennai trial court.

“A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court on April 27 directed the state government to appoint an SPP in the case as Karnataka was the prosecuting agency on transfer of the case to a Bengaluru trial court since 2003,” Jayachandra recalled.

The bench, headed by Justice Dipak Misra, remarked that once the case was shifted to Karnataka under Section 406 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the state steps into the shoes as prosecutor.

“The apex court also observed that Karnataka must understand its responsibilities and ensure smooth and fair perusal of prosecution. It (Karnataka ) has an obligation to do so,” Misra observed.

Clarifying that the decision had nothing to do with inter-state issues, the minister said that the cabinet decision on Monday was based on merits and the government’s responsibility to honour the top court’s observations and abide by its ruling in the case.

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