AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa’s DA case spanning for 15 years was “a classic illustration of what is wrong with our criminal justice delivery system,” and “something drastic” has to be done to remedy it, the Supreme Court said on Wednesday.”It is the criminal justice delivery system that comes out the loser,” Justice Madan B Lokur said while referring to the chequered history of the case in which it was alleged that high-profile accused persons used power and influence to manipulate and subvert the criminal justice system.
The judge said even if the allegations are not true, “it is extremely unfortunate that a criminal trial should take more than 15 years to conclude.”
The remarks were made by him in his judgement while dealing with petition of DMK leader K Anbazhagan seeking removal of Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) Bhavani Singh before Karnataka High Court which is seized with the appeal of Jayalalithaa against her conviction and four year sentence and Rs 100 crore fine.
While Justice Lokur allowed the DMK leader’s plea, another judge in the bench, Justice R Bhanumathi disagreed with him on the removal of SPP.
In the fourth paragraph of his 78-page judgement, Justice Lokur expressed his anguish and later discussed how the criminal justice system had suffered at different stages.
“Before adverting to the facts of the case, it needs mention that this case is a classic illustration of what is wrong with our criminal justice delivery system. If the allegations made by K Anbazhagan are true that the accused persons used their power and influence to manipulate and subvert the criminal justice system for more than 15 years thereby delaying the conclusion of the trial against them, then it is a reflection on the role that power and influence can play in criminal justice delivery.
“However, if the allegations made by him are not true, even then it is extremely unfortunate that a criminal trial should take more than 15 years to conclude. Whichever way one looks at the unacceptable delay, it is the criminal justice delivery system that comes out the loser. Something drastic needs to be done to remedy the system, if not completely overhaul it, and as this case graphically illustrates, the time starts NOW,” Justice Lokur said.