TN sues Jayalalithaa, Karnataka foots the bill: Justice A S Pachchapure,special court judges AT Munoli, BM Mallikarjunaiah, M.S Balakrishna & John Michael Cunha: 06.09.2014

 Documents obtained under RTI show state exchequer has spent Rs 2.86 crore on playing host to the case in the city. Of this, TN govt only reimburses Rs 1.46 crore
 
 
TN sues Jayalalithaa, Karnataka foots the bill4th Monkey
A file photo of Jayalalithaa on one of her visits to the court.

The case is in its final stages and the judge John Michael Cunha, who is now presiding, will likely deliver a judgement in the next few weeks.

Prior to Cunha, four other judges have presided over the case — Justice A S Pachchapure and special court judges AT Munoli, BM Mallikarjunaiah and MS Balakrishna.

 

When the Supreme Court announced that it planned to shift the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case involving Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa to Bangalore to ensure free and fair trial in 2003, the counsel for the chief minister had initially expressed concern. There was no love lost between the two states due to the Cauvery water dispute, her counsel had stated. However, in an affidavit, the state government assured the SC that it would extend all possible support to ensuring a free and fair trial.

Given that assurance, the SC went ahead and transferred the case to the city — in hindsight an obscenely expensive decision for taxpayers in Karnataka. Over the last 11 years since the case was transferred to the city, it has seen five judges and two public prosecutors. And the bill has ratcheted. Documents obtained by an RTI activist show that the state has so far spent Rs.2.86 crore on playing host to the case, making it one of the most expensive ever heard by a lower court.

The expenses include salary to staff (since a special court had to be set up in the city), remuneration to the public prosecutor and his assistant, salary of contract officials, transportation expenses (a huge bill since files etc have to moved from Chennai each time there is hearing), photocopying and other stationary, BSNL bills, allowances (witnesses too have to transported from Chennai), fuel expenses, furniture, translation fee, and other miscellaneous.

In its Dec 13, 2003 order, the SC directed the Tamil Nadu government to only reimburse the fees of the public prosecutor and his assistant which, so far, has amounted to Rs 1.46 crore. The state exchequer foots the rest of the bill. But here is a measure of how expensive the slow pace of justice is: When the case was stayed for five years from 2004 to 2009, a staggering Rs 93,29,370 was spent on salary to staff, maintenance, allowances etc.

“Most of the lower courts don’t even have basic facilities,” said T Narasimha Murthy, human rights and RTI activist, who had obtained the documents in Jayalalithaa’s case.

“The situation is so bad that accused parties are asked to pay for photocopies of documents and for other stationery. But the Tamil Nadu chief minister’s case is such a contrast. Already the state has spent Rs 2.86 crore. It is not a small amount. What if she is not convicted? What if she challenges the outcome? When courts are suffering, spending such a huge amount on a single case makes little sense.”

The case is in its final stages and the judge John Michael Cunha, who is now presiding, will likely deliver a judgement in the next few weeks.

Prior to Cunha, four other judges have presided over the case — Justice A S Pachchapure and special court judges AT Munoli, BM Mallikarjunaiah and MS Balakrishna.

WASTE OF TAXPAYERS’ MONEY

Retired Justice MF Saldanha claimed that the disproportionate asset case against J Jayalalithaa was a prime example on waste of public time and money.
“In my personal view, I don’t really understand what difference transfer of a case is going to make,” Justice Saldanha said. “However the Supreme Court had its own reason and wisdom. This is essentially a prosecution from Chennai which is why expenses have mounted. We have got to learn from mistakes to ensure optimal utilisation of time and public expenditure.”

Justice Saldanha suggested that the expenses be recovered from the defendant in case she loses the case. “In civil law, usually when one loses a case, one has to pay the cost of proceedings and other costs. I think in all these corruption cases which are anti-national offences, the guilty should be made to pay the cost. This should be debated and laws should be amended if necessary.”

Sunder CG, another advocate who is an expert on corruption cases, said, “It’s a sheer waste of time and taxpayers’ money to concentrate so much energy on one case and on one that is not of national importance. “

……………….

http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/others/TN-sues-Jayalalithaa-Karnataka-foots-the-bill/articleshow/41811968.cms?

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s