The Supreme Court has directed the constitution of a medical board to assist a Commission of Inquiry set up to probe the death of then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai in 2016. A bench comprising Justice SA Nazeer and Justice Krishna Murari asked the Director, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, to nominate a panel of doctors and specialists in the fields of treatment of the ailments as suffered by Jayalalithaa.
"We are also of the view that it is just and proper to constitute a medical board to assist the commission in the disposal of the case. Needless to say that the Commission has to furnish the said medical board, so constituted, with complete records of the proceedings. The medical board, so appointed, is permitted to participate in all further proceedings of the commission and furnish a copy of the report to the commission," the bench said.
The top court was hearing an appeal filed by Apollo Hospitals challenging the order of the Madras High Court which held that the commission can consider the appropriateness, adequacy or inadequacy of the treatment given by the hospital based on available medical records. The High Court had also held that it cannot interfere with the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry and direct the government to include professionals or experts on the board to assist the one-man Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice Thiru A Arumughaswamy.
The top court in its recent order further said it was the view that it is just and proper for the Commission to furnish the documents, the depositions and the records as available in the records on an application to be made by the hospital and expelled AIADMK leader VK Sasikala. "Appellant-Hospital is also permitted to make an appropriate application seeking permission to cross-examine/recall any witness or individual including those witnesses whose evidence has since been closed and also lead its own evidence. If such an application is filed, we request the commission to consider the same and pass appropriate orders thereon," the bench said.
The Madras High Court had on April 4, 2019, rejected Apollo Hospital's objections to an inquiry commission set up to probe the death of Jayalalithaa looking into aspects of treatment given to her. As mandated by its terms of reference, the Justice A Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry was empowered and entitled to go into the appropriateness, efficacy, adequacy or inadequacy of the treatment given to Jayalalithaa during her 75-day hospitalisation in 2016, it said.
The AIADMK-led state government had set up the inquiry commission to look into circumstances leading to the death of Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016, at Apollo Hospitals. The government had set up the inquiry commission to look into circumstances leading to the death of the AIADMK supremo, citing doubts expressed by various people.