On Monday, Karnataka made a mention before the Supreme Court that asking for it to pass the order in the Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case. While making the mention, senior counsel Dushyant Dave who appeared for the state of Karnataka reminded the court that order which was reserved in June has not yet been delivered.
The timing of this mention is very interesting considering it came just a day after O Panneerselvam resigned as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu paving the way for Sasikala to succeed him. Jayalalithaa, Sasikala and two others who were convicted by the trial court were later on acquitted by the high court. Karnataka preferred an appeal in the Supreme Court.
The case is very crucial and if the SC upholds the conviction, then Sasikala cannot become the CM. It would also bar her from contesting the elections under the Representation of Peoples' Act. The question now is whether Karnataka timed the mention before the SC or was it a mere coincidence. Let us take a look at what the inside story is.
Was the mention in the SC timed:
The verdict was reserved in June 2016. In August, Karnataka's legal team discussed mentioning the matter before the Supreme Court seeking an early verdict. It was said that in criminal matters the verdicts are usually delivered in three months time. Although not a rule it was a convention, the team also discussed.
However, the decision to remind the SC about the verdict was put off since Jayalalithaa was admitted to hospital. Karnataka felt it would be insensitive on its part to rake up this issue at such a time. After two months, when a medical bulletin stating that Jaya was showing improvement in health was put out, Karnataka once again decided to remind the Supreme Court about the verdict.
During one of the discussions it was mentioned by one team member that the delay was not good. It was the Supreme Court which after all directed the HC to hear the matter urgently and pass the verdict. Normally appeals come up before the high court after 3 years, but in this case it came up in less than six months and a time when TN was preparing for the elections.
The acquittal gave Jayalalithaa the much needed boost and she went on to win the elections and become CM.
Just when Karnataka was preparing to make the mention, Jayalalithaa passed away and the decision was yet again put on hold. Sources say that after her death on December 5, Karnataka decided to wait to make a mention as TN was going through a difficult time. Moreover there were vacations too in between which delayed the decision.
The source however denied that the decision to make a mention on Monday was timed with the OPS resignation. It may have been a coincidence the source said. It had to be done sometime or the other and hence we decided to do it on Monday, the source further added.