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Updated: September 6, 2011 13:16 IST

Appear before trial court, Supreme Court tells Jayalalithaa

J. Venkatesan
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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. File Photo
The Hindu Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa. File Photo

It disagrees with plea that she can answer questions in writing without personal appearance

The Supreme Court on Monday indicated to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa that she would have to appear personally before a trial court in Bangalore to answer questions in a disproportionate assets case. A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma did not agree with the submission that she was prepared to take a risk by answering questions in writing without appearing in person.

Justice Bhandari told senior counsel Harish Salve: “We think you [Ms. Jayalalithaa] have not been advised properly. Except to delay the whole proceedings by a couple of months, we don't find anything in this appeal.”

Earlier, Mr. Salve said that after the 2009 amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code, an accused could answer questions in writing under Section 313 (5). But the trial court declined Ms. Jayalalithaa's request to grant her exemption from personal appearance and to answer questions in writing citing the Supreme Court judgment while transferring the case to Bangalore.

‘Salutary provision’

Justice Bhandari said: “We are on a broader principle. Section 313 Cr.PC has been incorporated to meet the principles of natural justice. It is a very salutary provision for the benefit of the accused. You [accused] can even remain silent and not answer any question. The court will have the benefit of the demeanour of the accused while answering the questions.”

When Mr. Salve reiterated that she was prepared to take the risk by not appearing in person and by answering questions in writing, the judge said: “It is not necessary that the trial court should accept what all the accused says. Considering your [Ms. Jayalalithaa's] position, if you want we can ask the trial court to provide you adequate security on the date of your appearance and ask the court to complete the proceedings the same day of your choice.”

Mr. Salve sought time to take instructions and the Bench posted further hearing for September 12.

In her appeal, Ms. Jayalalithaa challenged the August 12 special court order, rejecting her application filed under Section 313(5) Cr.PC to file a written statement instead of personally appearing in court and answering questions under Section 313, and in the alternative to allow questioning through videoconferencing. She sought exemption in view of the fact that as Chief Minister, her life was under threat from various organisations and she had been provided with ‘Z' category security under the instructions of the Union Home Ministry. She said Tamil Nadu and Karnataka were involved in a bitter dispute over sharing Cauvery waters and the row had at times led to attacks on Tamils within Karnataka. In the backdrop of the dispute and attendant political tensions, the entry of her entourage would possibly cause inconvenience to Bangalore residents.

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Why does Jayalalitha unnecessarily use the Cavery Dispute for her rescue?While she was visiting Chamudeeswary Temple at Mysore,the same Cavery Dispute had not prevented her.It exposes her character of cheating public as well as Honorable Courts.Presently people from both the States are gradually ignoring the row over the Cavery dispute and maintaining good atmosphere.Jayalalitha should not imbibe the animosity in the minds of the people for her escape.

from:  Anban
Posted on: Sep 6, 2011 at 15:46 IST

The reasons attributed by Jayalalitha are vague and not in principle. She should not use the blanket of threat to shield herself from the cluthces of Justice. Also she should appear in person to strengthen her image as a courageous woman. No one is above the Law of this great country. So in the interest of obeying our Constitution, she has no other option except to appear in person through which her image will considerably grow.

from:  K Jaganathan
Posted on: Sep 6, 2011 at 12:16 IST

Jayalalitha should not waste anymore time on this case, she has to prove that she is Miss.Clean in order to take on DMK whole sale and enhance her prestige, postponing a crucial case as this doesn't speak good of a CM who day in day out hunts her rivals whom she claims to have ammassed wealth in the form land grabbing.

from:  Xavier surender
Posted on: Sep 6, 2011 at 10:36 IST

"inconvenience to Bangalore residents" is no excuse for Ms. Jayalalithaa for not appearing in person in the court. In a democratic society, no one is exempt from the duty to appear in the court (CM or not).

from:  Ramdas
Posted on: Sep 6, 2011 at 08:44 IST
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