news Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 05:30

Dhanya Rajendran| The News Minute| October 15, 2014| 12.00 pm IST

After Ram Jethmalani, senior counsel for Jayalalithaa in the Disproportionate Assets case (DA) failed to secure bail for the leader from the Karnataka High Court, senior lawyer Fali Nariman may represent her in the Supreme Court this Friday for a suspension of sentence and bail plea. 

However former MP and TN public prosecutor, Shunmugasundaram who has been DMK’s lawyer says that if Fali Nariman does eventually appear Jayalalithaa, it will be unethical.

Shunmugasundaram says that it will be against the spirit of justice if Nariman does appear for Jayalalithaa,  as many times in the past he has argued on behalf of the prosecution, DMK and the Dept of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption(DVAC) which had filed the cases against Jayalalithaa. 

According to Shunmugasundaram, Nariman first appeared as the DVAC s lawyer in the Madras High Court in 1998.

In 1998, Jayalalithaa had challenged the DMK government’s decision to constitute three additional courts with special judges under Section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. These courts to be set up in Chennai were supposed to try 39 corruption cases against Jayalalithaa and ministers, including the DA case. 

“At that time, Fali Nariman had appeared on behalf of the DVAC before a bench constituting Justice Liberhan and Justice Raju," he says.

Fali Nariman's office however told this reporter that the case now is different and there were no orders from the Madras high Court in 1998.

Though the case was heard a few times in Madras High Court, with Justice D Raju’s elevation there were no orders passed in that case. Later another bench headed by Justice Liberhan subsequently heard the case. This time however Fali Nariman did not appear, said Shunmugasundaraman. 

Jayalalithaa's writ petition was dismissed by the HC, she and others approached the SC with a special leave petition. "Later when the writ petition was dismissed by the High Court she and others filed SLP(c) Nos 17784-17797/98 etc before the Supreme Court. He appeared for the State departments in those cases defending the creation of additional courts," he added. 

A Supreme Court bench consisting of Justice Nanavati and Justive Kurdukar then heard two cases together, one was Jayalalithaa's SLP , the other was the TN government's decision to challenge an NDA government notification cancelling special courts. AIADMK was then a part of the NDA government and the DMK had accused that the central notification cancelling special courts was aimed at helping Jayalalithaa.

Shunmughasundaram says these are not the only two instances, but in June 2001 Nariman appeared on behalf of the DMK in the Supreme Court. "In 2001, when Jayalalithaa became Chief Minister again, DMK General Secretary Prof K Anbazhagan prayed for a direction from the Supreme Court to divest the investigation, the prosecution in the trial, and appeal of the corruption cases including the above stated Disproportionate Assets against Jayalalithaa from the state police departments to the CBI. Nariman represented the DMK, but that writ petition WP (Criminal) 120/2001 was withdrawn later when she was asked to step down by the Supreme Court in another case."

"They may say this case is an appeal, it is different. But the fact remains that as prosecutor, I have briefed Mr Nariman several times. Not once or twice, but for various elements in the case. How can he represent Jayalalithaa now?" asks Shunmughasundaram.