SC to hear plea against Jayalalithaa on daily basis
24 November 2015
The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to conduct day-to-day hearing on appeals filed against the Karnataka High Court judgement acquitting Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and three others in a disproportionate assets case.
A bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and R K Agrawal, which while admitting the appeals in July this year had not gone into the issue of staying the high court order, asked the parties concerned to give it the list of issues, which as per them needed to be decided in the case, on 8 January (See: SC grants bail to Jayalalithaa, suspends sentence).
"Both of you (parties) settle among yourselves and give us the issues need to be decided by us, so that it can be heard quickly and disposed of at the earliest," the bench said, adding it would hear the matter on "day-to-day basis".
The bench said the preliminary issues which need to be decided should be given to it soon.
On 27 July, the apex court had issued notices on the Karnataka government's appeal seeking stay of the high court judgement, to Jayalalithaa, her close aide Sasikala and two of her relatives, V N Sudhakaran and Elavarasi, and asked them to file their replies within eight weeks.
Meanwhile, the bench, which has allowed an intervention application by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in the matter, also asked him to file issues he wished to press before them.
The Karnataka High Court order had on 11 May ruled that the AIADMK supremo's conviction by the special court suffered from infirmity and was not sustainable in law, clearing the decks for her return as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
The Karnataka government has, in its appeal against the 11 May verdict, taken the ground that the state government's prosecuting agency was not made a party before the high court.
The petition, filed through advocate Joseph Aristotle, has also claimed that the high court erred in computing the disproportionate assets of the AIADMK leader.
The Karnataka government in its petition has asked whether the high court had "erred in law" by according the benefit of doubt to Jayalalithaa in pursuance of a Supreme Court judgment holding that an accused can be acquitted if his or her disproportionate assets was to the extent of ten per cent.
The state government also claimed that the high court has erred in law in overruling the preliminary objections raised by it and added that the accused had filed their appeals against conviction without impleading Karnataka as a party.
The special court had last year held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption and sentenced her to four years imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs100 crore (Jayalalithaa to serve 4 years in jail, pay Rs100 crore fine in assets case).
Meanwhile, a separate plea was filed by a Chennai-based lawyer R Rajavel, who sought court's direction on certain questions of law, which involve infringement of fundamental rights as guaranteed under the Constitution.
"Whether a chief minister interpreted as public servant under Article 141 of the Constitution can be treated on par with the functionaries specifically defined as public servants in the statutes, because both the categories, though they are engaged in public duty, they are governed by different set of norms, rules and regulations governing their functions," the plea stated.
Taking note of the plea, the court directed the counsel to supply copy of his petition to the parties concerned including the Centre and Jayalalithaa. This plea will also be taken up for hearing on 8 January.