Judgments which won the day for Jayalalithaa

October 18, 2014 03:38 am | Updated November 28, 2021 07:39 am IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court’s grant of bail on Friday to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa and three co-accused centred on a basic point of criminal procedural law that courts are empowered to suspend the operation of jail sentence in a corruption case.

Arguing for Ms. Jayalalithaa, senior advocate Fali S. Nariman produced a series of apex court judgments to show that suspension of sentence and granting of bail is the norm.

Mr. Nariman quoted the May 1999 case law of Bhagwam Rama Shinde Gosai vs State Of Gujarat . In this decision, a Bench of Justices K.T. Thomas and M.B. Shah had said that “when a convicted person is sentenced to [a] fixed period of sentence and when he files appeal under any statutory right, suspension of sentence can be considered by the appellate court liberally unless there are exceptional circumstances.”

He referred to apex court verdicts like Kiran Kumar vs. State of Madhya Pradesh in 2001 and Angana vs. State of Rajasthan of 2009.

Mr. Nariman argued that the remedy of suspension of sentence and resultant bail was a limited remedy. It was meant to provide the convicted person an opportunity to get ready for his appeal.

To prove this, he referred to the 2001 Supreme Court precedent of K.C. Sareen vs. CBI , which says that a public servant, once found guilty, is to be “treated as corrupt” until he is finally exonerated.

Mr. Nariman used the 2012 apex court judgment — State of Maharashtra Tr.C.B.I vs Balakrishna Dattatrya Kumbhar — to differentiate suspension of sentence from the remedy of stay of conviction in a corruption case. This was the very decision the Karnataka HC banked on to refuse Ms. Jayalalithaa and her co-accused relief.

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