The Special Court, which is trying the disproportionate assets case against AIADMK general Secretary Jayalalithaa, will record the statement of the accused on March 26.

The statement will be recorded under Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code for which personal appearance of the accused, including Ms. Jayalalithaa, is mandatory. However, recording of the statement would be subject to the order of the Karnataka High Court, which on Wednesday reserved its order on a petition filed by Ms. Jayalalithaa.

Ms. Jayalalithaa has questioned the rejection of her plea by the Special Court to prepare a fresh translation of certain evidences in English by incorporating the suggestions from the interpreter and seeking more time to point out alleged defects in translation.

Recording of statement under Section 313 turned contentious during the trial in a Chennai court. It was alleged that the presence of Ms. Jayalalithaa was dispensed with during her examination under Section 313 CrPC. Instead, a questionnaire was sent to her by the court and her reply was sent in absentia. This procedure was contested before the Supreme Court by K. Anbazhagan alleging that the trial was not fair.

While transferring the trial to Karnataka in November 2003, the Supreme Court had observed that the grounds cited for seeking exemption from personal appearance before the Chennai court by Ms. Jayalalithaa “were not at all mitigating circumstances to have granted dispensation of personal appearance.”

In its order, the Supreme Court had also directed that the Special Judge in Bangalore “shall after completion of evidence put to all the accused all relevant evidence and documents appearing against them whilst recording their statement under Section 313. All the accused shall personally appear in court on the day they are called upon to do so, for answering questions under Section 313 of CrPC.”

Personal appearance of the accused, including Jayalalithaa, is mandatory