A Supreme Court bench said a Chennai court will commence proceedings after completion of Lok Sabha elections.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday, while extending the time limit by three months for the trial court in Chennai to complete the trial in the income tax case, made it clear to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and her close aide V.N. Sasikala that they should comply with the trial court’s order directing them to appear for framing of charges.

A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Vikramajit Sen, after hearing senior counsel V. Giri, said both Ms. Jayalalithaa and Ms. Sasikala, who are partners in Sasi Enterprises, must appear in the court after the general elections on April 24. They had sought four months for the trial court in Egmore, Chennai, to complete the trial.

The apex court, while dismissing their appeal against the Madras High Court judgment on January 30, had directed the trial court to complete the trial in four months from the date of receipt of the order.

The trial court received the order on March 13. As per the judgment, the trial court was to complete the trial by July 13, which has now been extended till October 13.

Additional Solicitor-General Siddharth Luthra opposed the extension, stating that the trial was not progressing as the accused did not appear on February 6, 13, 27, March 13 and April 10. He said they must be directed to comply with the trial court’s order directing their appearance.

Justice Radhakrishnan told the counsel, “They will have to appear as nobody has stayed the trial court’s order. If the accused don’t appear, it is for the trial court to pass appropriate order to ensure their presence.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa and Ms. Sasikala are facing prosecution for an offence under Section 276 CC of the Income Tax Act for failure to furnish income tax returns. In the present application, the appellants said, “the date of polling in Tamil Nadu is April 24. Since Ms. Jayalalithaa being the leader of the party and currently the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu is campaigning all over the State, she is finding it difficult to appear before the Magistrate for recording the statements under 313 (1) (a) of the Cr.PC.” Hence the appellants sought extension of time for completion of trial by four months.

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