Tamil Nadu

Plea against converting Jaya’s residence into memorial

‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy includes her niece, nephew as respondents

Activist ‘Traffic’ K.R. Ramaswamy has once again moved the Madras High Court terming former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to be a convict, though a Division Bench of the court in January 2019, gave a categorical finding that she could not be described as a convict.

Filing a new public interest litigation petition against the government’s move to acquire her Poes Garden residence Veda Nilayam and converting it into a memorial, the activist claimed that public money could not be used to construct memorials for “convicts.”

He also included Jayalalithaa’s nephew J. Deepak and niece J. Deepa as respondents to his case since Justices N. Kirubakaran and Abdul Quddhos of the High Court recently held that the siblings were entitled to inherit all properties left behind by their aunt.

Contrary to the litigant’s claim, a Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam on January 23, 2019 held that Jayalalithaa could not be called a convict since she died before the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict in a disproportionate assets case.

The finding was given while dismissing a similar PIL petition filed by advocate M.L. Ravi of Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi against spending over ₹50 crore from the public exchequer for the construction of a mausoleum for Jayalalithaa at the Marina here.

Then, the lawyer claimed that the Supreme Court would have convicted Jayalalithaa too and sentenced her also to four years of imprisonment, as it was done with respect to her aide V.K. Sasikala, if she had been alive on the day of pronouncement of judgment.

Jayalalithaa had died on December 5, 2016 and the Supreme Court verdict was delivered on February 14, 2017. It was only because of her death, the apex court had observed that the appeal related to her alone would get abated but that would not amount to giving a clean chit, he argued.

Mr. Ravi also pointed out that in paragraph 541 (vi) of its judgment, the Supreme Court had said: “the flow of money from one account to the other proves that there existed an active conspiracy to launder the ill-gotten wealth of A1 (Selvi J. Jayalalitha) for purchasing properties.”

However, the Bench led by Justice Sathyanarayanan pointed out that the term ‘abatement’ refers to termination of legal proceedings without any decision on merits and “therefore, it cannot be said that she is a convicted person and as such, there is no stigma of conviction attached to her.”

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 12:08:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/plea-against-converting-jayas-residence-into-memorial/article31726958.ece

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