Ex TN CM Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case: Prohibitory orders imposed near Karnataka High Court on May 11


Ex TN CM Jayalalithaa disproportionate assets case: Prohibitory orders imposed near Karnataka High Court on May 11

-Dr. Abdul Ruff Colachal

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Corruption scams are not rare in India: regime seems to promote this crime as the necessary social evil but in doing so it harms the societal order.

The corruption case involving former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has raised a storm because she as a wealthy person from film world could make such huge wealth inappropriate to her known sources. She lost the CM seat and brought a bad name for Tamil Nadu and global Tamils. Jayalalithaa has misused Tamil masses to get a bail and is responsible for the suicides of some of them in order to get  her bail. It seems she is making all out efforts to influence top people even in judiciary to somehow escape punishment and has even invoked “god’s intervention”.

The question is if the honorable judges can take soft attitude towards corrupt practices by the CMs and PM, among other top dignitaries, because corruption is a serious crime.

With Karnataka High Court in India all set to give its verdict on May 11 on appeals filed by former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and three others in a disproportionate assets case, prohibitory orders have been clamped by the Karnataka government around the court area tomorrow.  The Special Vacation Single Bench of Justice CR Kumaraswamy is scheduled to give the judgment at 11 am.

The Special Court had sentenced Jayalalithaa and her close confidante Sasikala and two of her relatives, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran, also AIADMK chief’s disowned foster son, to four years in jail in September 27 last year for accumulating wealth disproportionate to known sources of income in an 18-year-old corruption case. The trial court had held Jayalalithaa and three others guilty of corruption. The court had also slapped a fine of Rs 100 crore on the AIADMK chief and Rs 10 crore fine on each of the three other convicts.  The 66-year-old politician, who had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9 after she was denied it by the Karnataka High Court, had submitted that she had been sentenced to only four years jail and was suffering from various ailments, as grounds for immediate relief.

The apex court had in last December extended by four months the bail of Jayalalithaa and asked the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court to constitute a special bench to decide on her plea expeditiously within three months. On October 17, the apex court had granted conditional bail to Jayalalithaa who was sent to jail by a trial court on September 27 last year.

Reports suggest that the City Police Commissioner has directed imposition of prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CrPC that bars any gathering in a radius of one kilometre around the High Court that comes under Vidana Soudha Police Station limits. The orders will be in effect from 6 am to 9 pm on May 11 Monday as a precautionary step as thousands of Jayalalithaa’s followers are expected to come to the city from Tamil Nadu for the verdict. Police said they suspect that there may be obstruction to public peace as well as to the movement of traffic in the city.

Also, the Supreme Court will pronounce on the same day its decision on the issue of legality of appointment of advocate Bhawani Singh as special public prosecutor(SPP) to argue before Karnataka High Court against the appeal filed by AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa challenging her conviction and four-year sentence in the disproportionate assets case. The apex court which reserved its judgment noted that the appointment of the SPP prima facie appears to suffer from irregularities but it will not allow the de novo hearing before the high court. “We do not want to delay this matter any further,” a bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra, R K Agrawal and Prafulla C Pant said.

The bench also allowed DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had filed a petition seeking removal of Bhawani Singh as SPP in the case, to file his written submission before the high court which will be considered by it before passing its judgment on the appeal by Jayalalithaa and others. The fresh hearing by the larger bench was completed in a little less than two days. The matter was referred to the larger bench on April 15 when a bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and R Banumathi had delivered a split verdict.  Jayalalithaa defends in the Supreme Court the continuance of Bhawani Singh as special public prosecutor (SPP) before Karnataka High Court during the hearing of her plea against conviction in the disproportionate assets case. “Bhawani Singh is not an intruder. He has a notification in his favour and in such matters, the de-facto doctrine comes in his favour,” senior advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for the AIADMK chief, told a bench of justices Madan B Lokur and R Banumathi. The bench was hearing a plea of DMK leader K Anbazhagan seeking removal of SPP Bhawani Singh, raising questions about his impartiality as prosecutor in the case. Anbazhagan has also sought a stay of appeal proceedings before the High Court in the case. Nariman said the apex court in 2013 had quashed a notification of the state government removing Singh as SPP and as a consequence, the earlier notification appointing him as the SPP, remained. The senior lawyer said the SPP had all the right to appear before the high court even during the appeal proceedings. The criminal case does not end with the trial and the appeal proceedings are part of the case and moreover, the SPP was appointed to deal with the case, he said.

Earlier, the court had come down on the state government for allowing the SPP to represent it also in the High Court during appeal proceedings.  The bench had said it would decide the question whether in law, an SPP, appointed to conduct trial in a case, could appear at a later stage in appellate courts too.

Prohibitory orders clamped in Bangalore near the High Court would make life easier in the capitals of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu as no untoward incidents would take place in Bangalore when Jayalalithaa arrives to face the court.

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