SC to decide Sasikala's fate today

Conduct composite floor test in a week: AG

SC to decide Sasikala's fate today
The Supreme Court will deliver on Tuesday its much-awaited judgement in the disproportionate assets case against the late Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa and AIADMK general secretary V K Sasikala.

The judgement, reserved on June 7 last year, will be pronounced by a bench comprising Justices P C Ghose and Amitava Roy at 10.30 am in court number 6.

The denouement in the 1996 case is crucial for Jayalalithaa's aide Sasikala as she has staked claim to form the government in Tamil Nadu after being elected AIADMK legislature party leader. She is facing a revolt from her party colleagues led by O Panneerselvam, who claims he was forced to resign as CM to make way for her.

In a related development, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi gave legal opinion to Tamil Nadu Governor Vidyasagar Rao, saying a composite floor test in the assembly must be undertaken within a week.

He has cited the judgement in the 1998 Jagdambika Pal case in which the apex court ordered holding a floor test to ascertain who between Pal and Kalyan Singh enjoyed majority. Rao has kept Sasikala waiting, raising the political temperature in the state.

The verdict in the disproportionate assets case would be of academic importance against Jayalalithaa as proceedings against her would be abated due to her death. But it would determine the future course for Sasikala.

If the apex court restores the trial court's judgement on her conviction and four-year jail term, she could be debarred from holding public office for 10 years. But if the apex court upholds the high court's verdict, acquitting all the accused, then her claim for the chief minister’s post would be strengthened.

It is expected that Justices Ghose and Roy would deliver two separate judgements.

After holding a marathon hearing for at least 20 full days, lasting about a year, the apex court had reserved its judgement on separate special leave petitions filed by Karnataka and others, challenging the HC's decision to overturn the conviction and four-year jail term awarded to Jayalalithaa.

Sasikala, her sister-in-law Ilavarasi and nephew V N Sudhakaran, regarded as Jayalalithaa’s ‘foster son’, figure in the Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate assets case.

Karnataka government had challenged the May 11, 2015 judgement of the high court, allowing the plea by then AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa and others against the Bengaluru court's decision of September 27, 2014 for their conviction, sentence and confiscation of some immoveable property. 
 
‘MLAs not held against their will’
Amid allegations that several AIADMK MLAs were forced to stay at two resorts, the Tamil Nadu government prosecutor told the Madras High Court on Monday that the MLAs had not complained they were illegally detained. The prosecutor said they were staying there on their own will. See Page 8
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