Apex court had directed court to complete trial in four months

The Supreme Court will hear an application filed by Sasi Enterprises on April 15, in which Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa and Ms. Sasikala are partners, seeking a four-month extension for an income tax case in a Chennai trial court.

A Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Vikramajti Sen posted the application for hearing even as Additional Solicitor-General Siddharth Luthra, appearing for the Centre, opposed any such extension contending that the appellants were habitual in seeking adjournments without appearing in court.

Ms. Jayalalithaa and Ms. Sasikala are facing prosecution for an offence under Section 276 CC of the Income Tax Act for failure to furnish their income tax returns. They filed criminal appeals against the Madras High Court order affirming the trial court’s verdict refusing to discharge the appellants. The Supreme Court, while dismissing their appeals against the January 30 judgment, directed the trial court to complete the trial in four months.

The appellants said papers relating to the case reached the trial court on March 13. Ms. Jayalalitaa said, “She was also the general secretary of the ruling party in the State. The schedule for the Lok Sabha elections was announced by the Election Commission on March 5. The date was announced before the case papers reached the trial court. The date of polling in Tamil Nadu is on April 24. The ruling party is contesting in all the 39 seats in the State and the single seat in the Union Territory of Puducherry.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa’s counsel said, “The case was posted on March 20 for recording the Section 313 (1) (a) CrPC. The case was adjourned to April 3 and again to April 10 (subsequently to April 28). Since Appellant No. 3 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 CrPC and also for framing the charges for which her presence is required.”