National

Judge raises doubts over circumstances of Jayalalithaa’s death

PTI Chennai | Updated on January 16, 2018 Published on December 29, 2016

The mortal remains of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa at Rajaji Hall, Chennai on December 6, 2016.   -  The Hindu

Madras High Court Judge S Vaidyanathan may order exhumation of the body

Expressing doubts over the circumstances leading to death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, a Madras High Court judge indicated that he may order exhumation of the body after a plea before the court sought a probe by an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee.

Justice S Vaidyanathan, who was heading a two-judge vacation bench, said the public should know what has happened.

His observations came when the bench, also comprising Justice V Parthiban, was hearing the PIL filed by an AIADMK worker P A Joseph seeking an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee to probe the circumstances leading to the death of Jayalalithaa.

“After the demise, everybody has a right to question. I personally have a doubt. One day it was told that she is walking, another day you said that she will come out and suddenly what happened. Even with regard to the health of late Chief Minister MGR, video was released,” Justice Vaidyanathan said.

When a special mention was made before the bench by senior counsel K M Vijayan who argued on the plea, Advocate General Muthukumaraswamy said there is no mystery in the death.

Justice Vaidyanathan asked the AG, “What is that you say. Right to live is a Fundamental Right. Public should know what has happened.”

“Even relations were not allowed to see and they are also not before the court now. I personally find in case if I have doubt I may order exhumation of the body of deceased and you have not told anything when she was alive,” the judge said.

Turning to counsel J Madanagopala Rao, who appeared on behalf of Union Government, the Judge said, “You went there. You have not reported anything. You know everything. But not reported anything for the reasons best known to you. You kept quiet.”

The bench said, “We also saw in newspapers that the chief minister was recovering, and that she was eating, signing papers and even conducting meetings. And then suddenly she was dead.”

The bench then recorded the acceptance of notice by counsel for Union Government on behalf of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministries of Home, Law and Parliamentary Affairs and CBI and posted the matter for further hearing to January 9.

The PIL had sought a commission comprising retired Supreme Court judges to look into “questionable incidents”, including Jayalalithaa’s sudden hospitalisation, reported recovery and the cardiac arrest resulting in her death on December 5.

The PIL listed the sequence of events since Jayalalithaa’s admission to Apollo Hospitals here on September 22 and claimed that the “secrecy” preceding her death gave rise to “grave doubts” in the minds of the people.

Published on December 29, 2016
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