New Delhi, Apr 7: The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a plea of a DMK leader seeking removal of special public prosecutor (SPP) Bhawani Singh from appearing for the state before the Karnataka High Court hearing appeal of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa against her conviction in a disproportionate assets case.
A bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur reserved the judgement after senior advocates Fali S Nariman, appearing for the AIADMK Chief and K T S Tulsi, who represented other convicts and T R Adhyarijina, the lawyer for DMK leader K Anbazhagan, concluded their rejoinder arguments in the case.
Besides seeking stay of appeal proceedings in the High Court, the DMK leader has sought removal of Bhawani Singh, raising questions about his impartiality as prosecutor in the case.
The court, however, had refused to stay the proceedings. Referring to earlier order of the apex court, Andhyarujina said, "here is a special public prosecutor who is hand in glove with an accused".
"The legal question is whether Bhawani Singh, whose appointment was limited to conduct the trial, can claim to come and appear in appellate court and say that I am the PP," he said, adding that it is "strange" that the convict is supporting him.
Andhyarujina said the earlier order had made it clear that transferee state Karnataka and not transferor state Tamil Nadu will appoint the public prosecutor in the case.
"The appointment for appearing in the High Court has been done by Tamil Nadu," he said. Nariman, counsel for Jayalalithaa, had come out strongly in support of the SPP saying, "Bhawani Singh is not an intruder.
He has a notification in his favour and in such matters, the de-facto doctrine also comes in his favour." He had said the apex court, in 2013, had quashed a notification of the state government removing Singh as SPP and as a consequence, the earlier notification appointing him as the SPP, remained.
On October 17, the apex court had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa who was sent to jail by a trial court on September 27.
Nariman had also said nobody including the state government had challenged the decision of the apex court and in this situation, the SPP had all the right to appear before the high court even during the appeal proceedings.
Earlier, the court had issued notice to the AIADMK chief and other convicts - Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala, two of her relatives and Karnataka government on the plea of the DMK leader.
The apex court had in last December extended by four months the bail of Jayalalithaa and asked the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court to constitute a special bench to decide on her plea expeditiously within three months.
The 66-year-old politician, who had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9 after she was denied it by the Karnataka High Court, had submitted that she had been sentenced to only four years jail and was suffering from various ailments, as grounds for immediate relief.
The Special Court had held Jayalalithaa and three others guilty of corruption. The court had also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on the AIADMK chief and Rs 10 crore fine on each of the three other convicts.