HYDERABAD: In a relief to Assembly Speaker Kodela Siva Prasada Rao, the Hyderabad High Court on Monday extended the order exempting him from personal appearance before a lower court in a case for allegedly exceeding the election expenditure limit in the 2014 general polls. Now there is no need for Kodela to appear before the lower court on October 10. Justice M Satyanarayana Murthy was passing this interim order on a miscellaneous plea filed by Kodela seeking extension of the court’s earlier order.
On October 4, the Special Court dealing with cases against MPs and MLAs had directed the Speaker to appear before it on October 10 in connection with the case filed by one Bhaskar Reddy in 2017. During an interview to a TV channel in 2016, the Speaker reportedly said he had spent `11.5 crore in the 2014 elections. After hearing the case, the Karimnagar court ordered for personal appearance of Kodela.
Aggrieved, the Speaker approached the High Court seeking exemption from appearance. On June 19 last, the court passed an interim order granting him exemption from personal appearance. On May 28 this year, when the matter came up for hearing before the Karimnagar court, the complainant’s counsel had filed a memo stating that as per the Supreme Court’s recent orders, the stay orders passed earlier on the proceedings in any pending trial, civil or criminal, would automatically lapse after six months, unless extended by a speaking order.
If there was no such order, the trial courts may, on expiry of the 6-month period, resume the proceedings without waiting further, he added. Taking these submissions into consideration, the Karimnagar first class judicial magistrate (special mobile) court directed Kodela to appear on the day of hearing of the case, i.e. June 18 or place the order of extension of earlier orders of the High Court.
Challenging the same, the Speaker moved the High Court for relief contending that the earlier stay orders issued by the lower court would lapse after six months from the day the SC passed the order i.e. March 28. In June this year, the HC set aside the lower court order.
Meanwhile, the case has been transferred to the Special Court dealing with the cases of MPs and MLAs, set up under the direction of Supreme Court. As the six-month period on stay order was ended on Sept 27, the Special Court had ordered personal appearance of Kodela on October 10.