Jaya portraits in govt offices: HC seeks TN govt's stand

Jaya portraits in govt offices: HC seeks TN govt's stand

The Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to spell out its stand on PILs seeking removal of portraits of late chief minister Jayalalithaa from government offices and schemes on the ground she had been 'convicted' in a disproportionate wealth case.

The first bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice R Mahadevan asked the government to respond by March 20 and posted the matter to that day.

The court gave the direction on petitions by senior DMK functionary J Anbalagan, MLA, and Advocates Forum for Social Justice with similar pleas. The bench orally observed that display of portraits in private offices or offices of political parties could not be gone into, but said the government should respond to all queries raised by the petitioners related to display of portraits in government offices and schemes.

Senior counsel P Wilson appearing for Anbalagan, contended that only because of her demise the charges against Jayalalithaa were abated and was not sentenced to jail but she was convicted by the Supreme Court. She was constitutionally debarred from occupying any public office, he submitted.

The portraits of a convicted person cannot be displayed in the government offices or in the schemes implemented by the government, he argued. He further submitted that a representation was already made to the government in this regard on February 25.

To this, the bench observed, "Give them breathing time. Let them take a decision on displaying the portraits in public offices post-conviction. Let them answer all queries raised by you."

President of Advocates Forum for Social Justice K Balu, submitted that the Supreme Court had not given a clean chit to Jayalalithaa instead found guilty of offences such as conspiracy and corruption.

Noting that her photographs were affixed on doles such as free table fan, mixie and grinder, besides school bag, geometry box, etc, Balu said, "Even in a dictator-ruled nation this would not happen."

To this, the bench remarked, "This is the style of administration that exists here for several decades." The petitioner had sought removal of Jayalalithaa's photograph and the name 'Amma', as the late leader was affectionately called, from all government schemes.

On February 14, the Supreme Court had restored in toto the judgement and findings of the trial court in Bengaluru which held all the accused, including Jayalalithaa, guilty in the corruption case.

However, the apex court abated the proceedings against Jayalalithaa in view of her death on December 5 last. Jayalalithaa, her close aide and current AIADMK General Secretary V K Sasikala and two others were accused of amassing disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 66.65 crore during her first term as the chief minister from 1991 to 1996.

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)