Bengaluru, June 2: The Karnataka government after much delay took the decision to file an appeal challenging the acquittal of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, J Jayalalithaa in the disproportionate assets case.
The Law Minister of Karnataka, T B Jayachandra said that the decision to file the case was taken on merit and not on politics. [Jayalalithaa appeal: How Karnataka will fight in Supreme Court]
While the law department too found that this was a case to be filed as it had the merit, there were various other factors that went on behind the scenes. [Jayalalithaa DA case: AIADMK dubs Karnataka's decision to appeal as "shameful"]
For one it was quite surprising that the Chief Minister of Karnataka, Siddaramaiah left it up to the Cabinet to take the decision when this was not needed.
However the factor that led to the delay was that the Congress itself was a divided house and there were many within the party who did not want the appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court.
Leaving it up to the Cabinet:
The decision to leave the decision on whether to file the appeal or not to the Karnataka Cabinet was quite strange to many. This is not a decision that the Cabinet would need to take a decision on- it is the law ministry or the law department which takes the final call.
Moreover legal experts also say that an appeal is a natural course of law and there is no need to weigh the pros and cons before filing one. However Siddaramaiah sensed that his own party was divided on the issue.
Hence, many say he decided to wash his hands off the decision and leave it to the Cabinet. It was the Cabinet which finally took a call on Monday to file the appeal before the Supreme Court.
The role of the law minister:
The law minister of the state of Karnataka T B Jayachandra was the one who made the announcement yesterday after it was decided to move the Supreme Court. Sources say that he was insistent yesterday that the appeal be filed in the Supreme Court.
While some may allege that members of the Karnataka Cabinet were under pressure not to file the appeal others say that a lot changed after the strongly worded note from the Advocate General.
The AG's note which mentioned that not filing an appeal would be an insult on the judiciary of the state which the Supreme Court had faith in changed the perception of the Law Minister to a large extent.
There were discussions during the Cabinet meeting yesterday, but it was the law minister who said that in the interest of the image of the state and taking into account the merits of the case an appeal must be filed and the same needs to be done soon.
The Congress was divided:
The Congress was in two minds on whether to go ahead and file the appeal or not. There were some emissaries of the AIDMK who were camping in Bengaluru since last Thursday to observe what was going on in the Karnataka law department.
Some of the AIDMK members did not want the appeal to be filed and even posed the question as to what difference it would make to Karnataka whether the appeal was filed or not. There were others in the Congress who were weighing options. They wanted to see if there was any chance of a Congress-AIDMK tie up and whether this possibility seemed bleak the decision to file the appeal came through.
There was some stringent opposition to file the appeal in the Tamil Nadu Congress as well. E M Sudarshan Natchiappan and E V K S Elangovan senior Congress leaders from Tamil Nadu were not initially in favour of an appeal.
However former Union Minister, P Chidamabaram had differed and he had publicly stated that the judgment of the High Court deserves to be appealed against. The other opposition came from the legal cell of the Congress which had said that an appeal should not be filed.
The legal cell of the Congress felt that the role of a state government is not judicial but administrative and since Karnataka was not an aggrieved party, the appeal should not be filed.