Can’t term Jayalalithaa a convict says Madras HC

In an objection to a memorial for the late leader, planned at the iconic Marina beach in Chennai, ML Ravi of the Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi argued that public money should not be spent on a convict.
Can’t term Jayalalithaa a convict says Madras HC
Can’t term Jayalalithaa a convict says Madras HC
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The Madras High Court on Wednesday said that late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa cannot be termed a convict, in a case relating to the construction of her memorial at Chennai’s Marina beach. ML Ravi of the Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi had approached the Madras High Court in August last year against the spending of money from the public exchequer for the construction of a memorial for the former Chief Minister, arguing that such a memorial for a convicted person would set a bad precedent.

Dismissing the Public Interest Litigation, the Madras High Court ruled, “This Court in the earlier paragraphs has found that before pronouncement of the orders by the Hon'ble Supreme Court in Criminal Appeals, the first respondent in the appeals, namely Selvi J.Jayalalitha died and therefore, the appeals preferred against her got abated and as such, it cannot be said that she became a convict.”

While the petition had also pointed out that the Rs 50.80 crores-worth memorial would be encroaching upon areas within the Coastal Regulatory Zone, A Division Bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam said, “The petitioner did not make a challenge to the sanction of funds and the clearances accorded/obtained for construction of the said memorial and even otherwise, this Court is of the considered view that the grounds urged by the petitioner lack merit for the above cited reasons.”

According to the court, the construction of the memorial was a policy decision taken by the state government and 'cannot be faulted with.'

It is to be noted that in August 2018, when former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi passed away, a controversy over government permission for his final resting place had seen three other petitioners withdrawing their cases against the construction of a memorial for Jayalalithaa. This paved the way for the Madras High Court to rule in favour of a memorial at the Marina for the late DMK President. However, ML Ravi of DMSK did not appear at the controversial midnight hearing at the residence of then Acting Chief Justice HG Ramesh, and later refused to withdraw his petition. The same month saw Justice Subramonium Prasad recusing himself from hearing this case since he had represented the late leader before the apex court earlier in his career.

In February 2017, the Supreme Court held Jayalalithaa guilty of corruption, and holding disproportionate assets under Prevention of Corruption Act. The SC said that while the trial court order against A2, A3 and A4 (Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran) is restored - effectively holding them guilty and imposing a Rs 10 crore fine on them - it stated that the case against Jayalalithaa had 'abated' due to her demise in December 2016.


The court further suggested that the state government could formulate a policy decision in future for the construction of hospitals, schools, colleges and provision of basic amenities/facilities to benefit the public/citizens, in honour and memory of great leaders.

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