Jaya Commission threatens action against media

Justice A. Arumughaswamy.   | Photo Credit: M. VEDHAN

The Commission of Inquiry looking into the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday threatened to take action against media organisations if they published news pertaining to its terms of reference without prior permission.

“The press as well as the media are prohibited from telecasting any news or serial or debate pertaining to the aforesaid terms of reference of the Commission of Inquiry without obtaining prior permission of the Hon’ble Commission of Inquiry,” said an order of the Justice Arumughaswamy Commission.

The Commission passed the order while hearing arguments on an application filed by V.K. Sasikala regarding a multi-episodic documentary on Jayalalithaa’s death that was being broadcast on Sun News. Ms. Sasikala’s lawyer N. Raja Senthoor Pandian wanted the channel to submit the documents used as evidence while producing the programme. On Tuesday, the counsel for Sun TV Network informed the Commission that the channel would not telecast the episodes without prior permission of the Commission.

The Commission’s Tuesday order said that violations “will be viewed seriously and consequently appropriate action will be taken against the violating persons in accordance with the law.”

When asked, an official at the Commission said that the order did not bar reporting on the daily proceedings of the Commission.

The Commission also asked media organisations to place before it any documents or evidence that they possess with regards to its terms of reference.

The terms of reference given to the Commission by the State government are, “To inquire into the circumstances and situation leading to the hospitalisation of the late Hon’ble Chief Minister Selvi J. Jayalalithaa on 22.09.2016 and subsequent treatment provided till her unfortunate demise on 5.12.2016.”

Judge invokes Shakespeare

On Monday, during a five-hour examination and subsequent cross-examination of Dr. K.S. Sivakumar at the Commission, Justice Arumughaswamy invoked Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

“If Jayalalithaa had come out of her unconscious state and uttered, “You too, Brutus: why you did not opt for surgery?,” what would you have said?” The judge was referring to performing an angiogram on Jayalalithaa when he said surgery.

Dr. Sivakumar, a relative of Sasikala who coordinated Jayalalithaa’s treatment, said that he had done all that was necessary to save the CM’s life.

However, the plastic surgeon seemed to vacillate later when the judge asked him if he was satisfied with the treatment provided to Jayalalithaa, Dr. Sivakumar answered with a question of his own: “Could we have done an angiogram? “

On Monday, the Commission also asked Dr. Sivakumar about Sasikala’s late husband M. Natarajan’s admission to [Gleneagles] Global Hospitals. Dr. Sivakumar said the decision to admit Mr. Natarajan at Global was taken by his immediate family, including the brothers; he had not been a party to that decision.

The doctor also pointed out that the late Natarajan had previously been treated at Apollo.

Dr. Sivakumar was also asked about the former CM’s diet. At one point, he said, “Amma had said that she had no pleasure other than having the food of her choice.”

On Monday, Justice Arumughaswamy, showing copies of media reports saying that Dr M.K. Mani, nephrologist at Apollo Hospitals’, had argued with the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi against sending late M.G. Ramachandran abroad for treatment. Dr. Sivakumar responded by saying that he was not aware of this development.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 10:50:22 PM |

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