SC to hear Karnataka’s review petition in Jayalalithaa DA case today

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In its review petition, Karnataka described the SC judgement as an ‘error on the face of the record’ which merits a relook.

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench will on Wednesday take up a review petition filed by the Karnataka government, challenging the abatement of its appeal in the J Jayalalithaa Disproportionate Assets (DA) case.

Reports said that the bench will decide the petition by circulation, and consider an application for ‘personal hearing’ of the case.

The Karnataka government last month moved the Supreme Court, seeking a review of the February 14 judgement holding that the appeal in the Rs 66 crore disproportionate assets case against former Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa has abated after her death on December 5, 2016.

In its review petition, Karnataka described the judgement as an “error on the face of the record” which merits a relook.

It said, “If a party dies after the conclusion of arguments and judgment is reserved, there is no question of abatement of appeal and that the judgement subsequently pronounced will have the same force and effect as if the same was pronounced before the death took place.”

On February 14, the apex court held Sasikala, Sudhakaran and Ilavarasi guilty of abetment in the DA case and convicted them to undergo four-year imprisonment. They are now in jail in Bengaluru. On Ms Jayalalithaa, the Bench said the appeal has come to an end.

Assailing this ruling, Karnataka said, “There are no provisions either in the Constitution or in the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 for such abatement of appeal.

On the other hand, the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 provide that both in case of civil appeals as well as election petitions there will be no abatement if the death takes place after conclusion of hearing.”

Karnataka argued that though the question of A 1 (Jayalalithaa) undergoing further imprisonment does not arise, sentence to pay fine is legally sustainable which has to be recovered from the estate.

This is particularly so where the offence alleged is of illegally acquiring disproportionate assets. Therefore, the finding that the appeal has abated is not correct.

It said, “A criminal appeal involving offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act stands on a slightly different footing where the allegation is of acquisition of disproportionate assets by a public servant. In the circumstances, though the death of the accused no 1 (Jayalalithaa) renders sentence of imprisonment infructuous, the question whether any fine is liable to be imposed as also confiscation of illegally acquired property will survive for consideration.”
Karnataka urged the Supreme Court to modify its February 14 judgment and restore the trial court verdict in its entirety against Jayalalithaa.

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