The Supreme Court on Monday asked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to appear personally before the trial court in Bangalore on October 20 in the disproportionate assets case.
A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma passed this order after hearing senior counsel Harish Salve, appearing for Ms. Jayalalithaa, that she would appear in the trial court if adequate security was provided to her. During the hearing on September 5, the court made it clear to Mr. Salve that Ms. Jayalalithaa would have to appear in person and asked him to take instructions.
Accordingly, on Monday, Mr. Salve told the Bench that since Ms. Jayalalithaa had been provided ‘Z' Plus security, the Karnataka government might be directed to provided her adequate security to ensure that the recording of statements was done properly. He also suggested that the trial court could consider recording the statements in a place other than the regular court.
The Bench said that since the petitioner had been provided ‘Z' Plus security, the trial court must ensure her adequate security. The Bench asked the trial court to complete recording of statements of the petitioner preferably the same day, on October 20, and if it could not be completed, it should be completed the next day. The Bench left it to the trial court to decide her plea for being examined at a separate place, but made it clear that adequate arrangements should be made to provide proper security to her.
Ms. Jayalalithaa challenged the Special Court's order rejecting her application to answer questions in writing as provided under Section 313(5) of the Criminal procedure Code (Cr.PC) and in the alternative to allow the questioning through video-conferencing.
She sought these exemptions in view of the fact she had again been elected as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.
“Her life is under threat from various organisations and she has been provided with ‘Z' Plus security under instructions of the Union Home Ministry. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have been involved in a bitter dispute on sharing the waters of Cauvery which has led, at times, to attacks on Tamils within Karnataka. In the backdrop of the dispute and attendant political tensions, the entry of the petitioner and her entourage would possibly cause inconvenience to the inhabitants of Bangalore. ”