‘Constitution of inquiry commission is illegal’: AIADMK member seeks stay on Jaya death probe

PA Joseph also stated the inquiry commission could be biased and could be influenced as it was constituted by the state government.
 ‘Constitution of inquiry commission is illegal’: AIADMK member seeks stay on Jaya death probe
‘Constitution of inquiry commission is illegal’: AIADMK member seeks stay on Jaya death probe
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A petition was filed at the Madras High Court on Tuesday seeking an interim stay on the inquiry commission set up by the Tamil Nadu government to probe the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death. This comes three days after retired judge of the Madras High Court, Justice A Arumughaswamy, who is heading the one-member inquiry commission, assumed charge.

The petition was filed by an AIADMK member PA Joseph, who hails from Adambakkam in Chennai, who called the constitution of the inquiry commission as ‘illegal’ under the Commission of Inquiry Act. “The petitioner states that the main ground of attack on the constitution of inquiry is that the said commission is constituted without a resolution being passed by the Assembly, as mandated under Section 3 of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952.”

According to this Act, if a commission is to be formed, the state government should get the resolution passed in the Legislative of the State.

The petitioner also argued that as the state government was involved in Jayalalithaa’s treatment and hospitalisation, the inquiry could be biased. “The petitioner states that, since the entire state government machinery including the present and past ministers, party MLAs are involved in the whole episode of hospitalisation, treatment, death of the former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Ms. Dr. Jayalalithaa, there is every possibility of influence, pressure, bias when it comes to a commission constituted by the state government themselves. The present commission can’t be expected to do an independent inquiry, for the reasons that the present inquiry is clearly an in-house inquiry and there is every possibility of bias and likelihood of tampering of records,” stated the petition.

The same petitioner had earlier filed a petition seeking three retired Supreme Court judges conduct an inquiry into the death of J Jayalalithaa.

Joseph also sought the court’s intervention to inquire into the contradictory statements made by different ministers. While state Forest Minister Dindigul Srinivasan had on September 23 claimed that they had lied about meeting Jayalalithaa in hospital, a day later Co-operatives Minsiter Sellur Raju contradicted his colleague.

The case will be coming up for hearing on Wednesday after senior counsel Vijay Anand mentioned it before the First Bench of the Madras High Court.

On September 25, the Tamil Nadu government named retired High Court Justice A Arumughaswamy to lead the probe into Jayalalithaa’s death and asked the report to submitted in three months.

On August 17, the Edappadi Palaniswami government had announced that Jayalalithaa's death will be probed by a Commission of Inquiry headed by a retired judge. A judicial probe into her death was one of the preconditions for a merger with O Panneerselvam’s faction.

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