Supreme Court ordered that the three accused have to surrender before the trial court ‘forthwith’, meaning immediately. But how 'immediately'?

Why has Sasikala not surrendered and how much time does she haveCourtesy: PTI
news Wednesday, February 15, 2017 - 09:34

While upholding the conviction of Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran in the high-profile Disproportionate Assets case on Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered that the three accused have to surrender before the trial court ‘forthwith’, meaning immediately.

But how ‘immediately’ is that? How much time does Sasikala have, practically speaking?

Although the judgment is out, the usual practice is that certified copies of the judgment duly signed by the judges are handed out to the counsels by the court registry and also sent to the trial court, which usually takes a few hours if not more. In this case, a certified copy could have been faxed to the trial court in Bengaluru.

But this being a high-profile case, the verdict is widely known and its consequences are clear.

Legal experts and lawyers say that Sasikala would have to surrender as soon as possible, customarily within a day.

“There is no rule, but the custom is within a day,” says advocate PS Raman. “The court could take action if she does not present herself today,” he told TNM on Wednesday morning.

However, he points out that since this is a high-profile case and it was widely reported, Sasikala and co cannot feign ignorance. “The verdict has also been uploaded on the SC website, which is an official copy,” he says.

Advocate Saravanan, spokesperson of the DMK and one of the lawyers who represented DMK’s K Anbazhagan in the DA case in the Bengaluru trial court, says that Sasikala’s lawyers cannot feign ignorance and hide behind the technicality of the certified copy.

“They have to show positive intent. Their lawyers were present in the court, they heard the judge pronounce them guilty and order them to appear before the trial court immediately. The order has also been uploaded on the website. So, she has to surrender immediately,” he says, adding that it is not just about legality, but perception too, and that she is losing that battle.

He points out that the Karnataka trial court can act if she does not surrender after the court gets a certified copy. Raman also concurs that for the trial court to act, in case she does not surrender, they would need a certified copy.

Further, TOI quotes legal experts stating that if Sasikala and the others don't turn up on Wednesday, the trial court judge can issue arrest warrants against them.

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