No relief for Jayalalithaa anytime soon

It would be difficult for SC to overturn the HC order in the wake of its own stand on graft involving politicians

deevakar

Deevakar Anand | October 8, 2014 | New Delhi




October 7 was a day of high drama outside the Karnataka high court that denied bail to former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Dramatic scenes were enacted – women wailing and men rolling on the road – as the news came out of the courtroom. It is, however, highly unlikely that the AIADMK supremo will get a relief anytime soon.

After the high court refused her bail in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case, she is left with no choice but to file an appeal in the supreme court.

However, considering that the HC judge A V Chandrashekhar, while denying the bail to Jayalalithaa heavily relied on the supreme court’s earlier orders and observations in similar corruption cases involving ‘heavy-weight’ politicians, her appeal is likely to fall on a sticky wicket in the apex court.

Justice Chandrashekhar said the SC had in the past called “corruption a violation of human rights’’ adding that acts of corruption led to “economic imbalance” and so Jayalalithaa’s case was not fit for bail.

When the AIADMK leader’s lawyer Ram Jethmalani tried to reason in the court that even Lalu Yadav had been granted bail after being convicted in the fodder scam, the judge smirked that even Yadav had had to stay in jail for two years.

The Karnataka HC cited the supreme court order in the State of Maharashtra through CBI, Anti Corruption Branch, Mumbai Vs. Balakrishna Dattatrya Kumbhar case where it stated that “corruption is a serious malady affecting the health of the polity”.

Under the public and media glare, the apex court, legal experts believe, will be highly careful passing an order on Jayalalithaa’s appeal, especially since the high court order was based on benchmarks set by itself.

Justice Chandrashekhar didn’t pay heed to Jethmalani, who said special judge John Michael Cunha, by awarding the four-year sentence to Jayalalithaa had “reversed the first principles of justice” by putting the onus on the accused to prove herself innocent.

Justice Chandrashekhar has, in delivering the bold order, upheld the apex court’s strict posturing on graft cases involving law makers.

In March, the SC had said trial courts should announce their final orders within a year in cases of graft and other serious crimes involving political leaders.

 

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