The Supreme Court stayed the day-to-day trial in a case against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa while permitting a plea by special public prosecutor in the case G.Bhawani Singh seeking three weeks adjournment on health grounds.
A bench headed by Justice B.S.Chauhan ordered three weeks stay of the proceedings after considering the plea by Bhawani Singh seeking stay for treatment.
Bhawani Singh, who was restored as special public prosecutor by the apex court on Sep 30 last year, moved the apex court challenging the Karnataka High Court decision declining his plea for adjournment of hearing so that he could undergo medical treatment.
The high court had also dismissed his plea against the order of the trial court that had imposed a penalty of Rs.60,000 a day for seeking repeated adjournments and causing delay to the case which is pending for more than one and a half decade.
The case of owning assets disproportionate to income against Jayalalithaa relates to the period from 1991 to 1996 and involves an amount of Rs.66.65 crores. The trial in the case was shifted outside Chennai to Bangalore by the apex court in 2003 to ensure free and fair trial. Along with Jayalalithaa, the other two accused in the case are Sasikala, Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran.
Bhawani Singh was taken off the trial by the Karnataka government after DMK general secretary K.Anbazhagan had moved the Karnataka High Court seeking his removal.
However, this decision to remove Bhawani Singh was challenged by Jayalalithaa contending that the trial in the case was already delayed and change of special public prosecutor at this stage would further delay it.
The apex court, while restoring Bhawani Singh, had held: "The evidence led in the case is very bulky as it runs into 34,000 pages. In case a new judge starts hearing the matter, he is bound to take a long time to understand the factual and legal niceties involved in the case. Accordingly, we have no hesitation in holding that the notification purporting to revoke the appointment of Shri G. Bhavani Singh as SPP is liable to be struck down."