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A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice Dipak Misra has held that Tamil Nadu had no authority to appoint Bhavani Singh as the Public Prosecutor in the Jayalalitha’s appeal before the Karnataka High Court in the DA case. It has further held that the State of Karnataka which was the sole prosecuting agency, was alone authorized to appoint the Public Prosecutor.
However the bench has held that though the appointment of Singh was bad in law, yet there was no justification to direct for de novo hearing of the appeal, regard being had to the duties of the appellate Judge. Bench permitted appellant (K. Anbazhagan) as well as the State of Karnataka to file their written note submissions before the High Court which has reserved the judgment in the appeals.
Bench also ordered that ‘after receipt of its judgment, the High Court judge shall peruse the same and be guided by the observations made therein while deciding the appeal’.
Last year, the Bengaluru special court – 36th Additional City Civil & Sessions Court, Bengaluru had convicted Jayalalithaa for possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income and sentenced her to four jail terms and Rs 100 crore fine
The three-judge bench comprising of Justices Dipak Misra, R.K. Agrawal and Prafulla C. Pant was constituted after a bench of Justices MB Lokur and R Bhanumati had given a split verdict. While Justice Lokur had allowed the Appeal for removal of Bhawani Singh, Justice R Banumathi had observed that the special public prosecutor has the authority to continue in appeal in the High Court.
The bench has observed:
The appellate court has a duty to make a complete and comprehensive appreciation of all vital features of the case. The evidence brought on record in entirety has to be scrutinized with care and caution. It is the duty of the Judge to see that justice is appropriately administered, for that is the paramount consideration of a Judge. The said responsibility cannot be abdicated or abandoned or ostracized, even remotely, solely because there might not have been proper assistance by the counsel appearing for the parties. The appellate court is required to weigh the materials, ascribe concrete reasons and the filament of reasoning must logically flow from the requisite analysis of the material on record. The approach cannot be cryptic. It cannot be perverse. The duty of the Judge is to consider the evidence objectively and dispassionately.