SC grants bail to Jaya

SC grants bail to Jaya

Warns against dragging appeal in high court

SC grants bail to Jaya

 In a relief to former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalitha, the Supreme Court on Friday granted her bail in the disproportionate assets case and suspended the four-ye­ar imprisonment on condit­i­on that she would not prol­o­ng the pending appeal in the Karnataka High Court (HC).

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice H L Dattu took note of an assurance from Jayalalitha’s counsel, senior advocate Fali S Nariman, that she would not delay the hearing or seek adjournment in the appeal against her conviction by a Bangalore court on September 27.

The court also allowed a plea for suspension of sentence and granting of bail to N Sasikala, V N Sudhakaran and J Ilavarasi — each sentenced to four-year jail with Rs 10-crore fine. Nariman made a submission assailing the October 7 order by the Karnataka High Court, which rejected Jayalalitha’s plea for suspension of sentence in the case registered in 1996.

The court said, “How many years you took to complete the trial? If we pass suspension of sentence now, you will take another two decades to complete appeal. “This case dragged on for years and years,” the bench observed. To this, Nariman said he was ready to give an affidavit that the appeal in the HC would be decided within two months.

The court then asked him to prepare a paperbook and keep all files and materials ready in two months so that the appeal could be disposed of within three months.
The court told Nariman that it would not grant concession of even one day if the files were not ready within the stipulated period.

It put the matter for further consideration on December 18.  Senior advocate K T S Tulsi also agreed to give an undertaking on behalf of co-convicts in the case.

The 66-year-old AIADMK chief, who had to demit office as the chief minister, was lodged in the Parappana Agrahara prison in Bangalore.

At the outset, Nariman submitted that the high court’s reasoning, with the invocation of an SC verdict of 2010 stating corruption was violation of human rights, to reject Jayalalitha’s plea for suspension of sentence was wrong. The bench then pointed out that the high court was merely observing that this was a white-collar crime.

Nariman submitted that the special judge who convicted Jayalalitha disregarded her incomes and assessment and there was no case made out against her under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He suggested to the court if it wanted, Jayalalitha could be confined to a home in Chennai till her appeal was heard in two months. Referring to Article 21 of the Constitution, the court, however, disagreed to the idea by saying, “No, we will not pass such unusual order; either we will grant bail or not.”