Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Jayalalithaa appeal case: Act in haste; repent at leisure

In page 852 of his judgement, Justice Kumaraswamy has, inter alia,  included the loan raised by Jaya Publications amounting to Rs.1.50 crore from Indian Bank. While totalling all such loans, the figure has apparently been taken as Rs.15 crore thus accounting for a mistake of Rs.13.50 crore.

This mistake is fatal to the learned judge's rationale for exonerating Jayalalithaa and others. This is a classic instance of a person deciding first and appending reasons later on. Once the decision-maker has started owning a judgement whatever be its demerits, the tendency will be to be careless in providing basis for the decision.

It would appear that the judge has come under a lot of pressure, self-imposed or externally originated, and has bungled in the process. The Supreme Court erred in imposing an impossible time limit for disposal of appeal. This was aggravated by Justice Dipak Misra's philosophical advice on how to handle evidence. If prosecution had been allowed to play its expected role, the blunder under reference might have been avoided.

In sum (pun not intended), judiciary has egg on its face.

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