The Supreme Court has issued a stay on all the proceedings of the Arumughaswamy Commission, which is probing the death of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
The stay was ordered on Friday on a petition filed by the Apollo Hospitals challenging the order of the Madras High Court dismissing the hospital’s plea to stay the proceedings. The bench ordered a stay within minutes of starting the proceedings, despite the counsel for the Commission arguing that 90 percent of the inquiry has been completed.
Apollo Hospitals had filed a petition in the Supreme Court after the Madras high court refused to stay the inquiry conducted by Arumughaswamy Commission. The hospital wanted the Commission to constitute a 21-member expert medical committee to look into the medical aspects of the treatment provided to the former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and alleged that the Commission did not have the expertise to make sense of the medical records, decisions and the nature of the treatment provided to Jayalalithaa.
Speaking to TNM, Raja Senthur Pandian, Sasikala’s counsel said that such halts will benefit Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam. “The proceedings are in its final stages and we were waiting for Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam to come give his version of events. It would have clarified everything regarding Jayalalithaa's death and Sasikala's alleged involvement. The more they halt proceedings the more it will favour O Panneerselvam,” he said. O Panneerselvam had not appeared before the Commission despite multiple summons issued to him by retired Justice Arumughaswamy.
The Commission was announced by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in August 2017 to inquire into the death of former Chief minister J Jayalalithaa, who died in Apollo hospitals in December 2016, following a 75-day hospitalisation. The Commission, after multiple extensions, was to submit its report this June.
The Commission, meanwhile, engaged in a court battle with Apollo Hospitals accusing it of obstructing the probe. The hospital, on the other hand, alleged that the Commission did not have the required expertise to understand the medical terminologies and the nature of the treatment provided by the doctors of Apollo. Earlier this month, the Madras High Court dismissed Apollo’s demand to stay the proceedings of the Commission until a 21-member expert medical panel is put in place. The Court ruled that the Commission was empowered to probe into the appropriateness and adequacy of the treatment provided to the former Chief Minister.