Jaya not convicted by SC, points out HC

Reserves order on building mausoleum at State expense

December 20, 2018 12:52 am | Updated 12:52 am IST - CHENNAI

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, 24/02/2017: Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's memorial at Marina beach in Chennai. 
Photo: M. Vedhan

CHENNAI, TAMIL NADU, 24/02/2017: Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's memorial at Marina beach in Chennai. Photo: M. Vedhan

Doubting whether former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa could be termed a convict in the absence of a conclusive finding by the Supreme Court in the disproportionate assets case against her, the Madras High Court on Wednesday reserved its judgment on a public interest litigation petition filed against constructing a mausoleum for her at State cost.

A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam deferred their verdict, without mentioning the date of pronouncement, after hearing elaborate arguments advanced by Advocate-General Vijay Narayan and advocate T. Sivagnanasambandan representing petitioner M.L. Ravi of the Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi. Pointing out that the Supreme Court’s February 14, 2017, judgment simply states that an appeal preferred against her acquittal from the case by the Karnataka High Court stands abated in view of her death on December 5, 2016, Justice Sathyanarayanan said: “In a judgment, ultimately what counts is the result, not the observations made here and there.” The petitioner had claimed that Jayalalithaa was “convicted” in a disproportionate assets case and hence taxpayers’ money should not be used for her mausoleum. However, not objecting to use of private funds, he also wanted the public money that had already been spent for the construction to be recovered from the properties left behind by the dead leader.

Marina burials

In his affidavit, Mr. Ravi also insisted on stopping the practice of converting the 2.8 km-long Marina beach into a graveyard by burying the mortal remains of one leader after another. So far, the remains of former Chief Ministers C.N. Annadurai, M.G. Ramachandran, Jayalalithaa and M. Karunanidhi had been buried on the beach.

Filing a detailed counter affidavit to the PIL petition, the State government asserted that Jayalalithaa was not convicted by the Supreme Court and hence, there was nothing wrong in constructing a mausoleum for her at the Marina beach at State cost, especially when all mausoleums at the beach had been constructed only with public money.

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