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|March 16, 1999||
TN will amend plea on transfer of Jaya's cases
Tamil Nadu advocate general K Venkatapathy today informed the Supreme Court that he would move an application tomorrow to amend his writ petition, challenging the central notification transferring 46 corruption cases against AIADMK chief J Jayalalitha and others from three special courts to session courts.
The information, given by his senior counsel Shanti Bhushan before a division bench comprising Justices G T Nanavati and S P Kurudkar, assumes importance in view of the maintainability of the petition, being challenged by the Union of India in its counter-affidavit.
Earlier, resuming his arguments on the maintainability of the petition, Shanti Bhushan contended that the court had to first settle whether or not the Centre's notification dated February 5 was valid without going into the maintainability of the advocate general's petition.
The Centre's notification, which sought to relocate a group of corruption cases against Jayalalitha, some of her erstwhile cabinet colleagues and certain bureaucrats to the sessions court, the counsel maintained, did not take away the jurisdictions of the three special judges before whom these cases were pending at the time of the issuing of the impugned notification.
At this stage, Justice Nanavati intervened to suggest that the counsel should first confine his arguments to the maintainability of the petition.
Even so, when the counsel continued with his arguments on the validity of the Centre's notification, attorney general Soli Sorabjee voiced his serious objections against the same, leading to unpleasant exchanges between the two.
Shanti Bhushan, however, continued with his submissions on the validity of the Centre's notification.
He contended that once a special judge had been appointed for a particular case or a group of cases under section 3(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the question of allocating the case or the group of cases under section 4(2) of the act came into play only when more than one special judge had been appointed without allocating the cases to them.
The Centre's notification was termed by Shanti Bhushan as a threat to rule of law and independence of judiciary.
Meanwhile, the court granted leave to VOICE, a consumer activist organisation against orders of the Madras high court refusing to entertain its writ petition challenging the notification issued by the Centre.
The court said that another public interest petitioner, advocate Chennaswamy, who had also challenged the Centre's notification, would be allowed only to intervene.
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