Former Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa will continue to stay in jail as the special vacation bench of the Karnataka high court has adjourned her bail plea hearing to 7 October.
She had also appealed against the Bangalore special court’s conviction order of four-year imprisonment and a penalty of Rs.100 crore in the disproportionate assets case.
A special vacation bench headed by Justice Rathnakala said that the case required a representation on prosecution side and matter could wait for the appointment of a public prosecutor. Therefore, bail pleas of Jayalalithaa, close aide Sasikala, V.N Sudhakaran and Illavarasi will be heard by a regular bench on 7 October.
On Tuesday, AIADMK advocates filed a petition before the Karnataka high court to constitute a special bench to hear Jayalalithaa’s bail plea on Wednesday after the vacation bench adjourned it to 6 October. Since the high court is on an extended vacation, the vacation bench had taken up the case for hearing.
Unless the conviction is overturned by a higher court, Jayalalithaa runs the risk of being barred from contesting elections for 10 years—four years while she is in jail and six years after release. Last year, the Supreme Court in its judgement said an MLA or member of parliament (MP) is automatically disqualified if he or she is convicted and imprisoned for two years or more. Before this judgement, Section 8 (4) of the Representation of People Act, which was struck down by the apex court, protected an elected representative from disqualification if they appealed before a higher court within three months.
With the sentence, Jayalalithaa becomes the first serving chief minister to lose her post and go to jail.
Special judge John Michael D’Cunha had convicted the 66-year-old AIADMK chief in a case of owning assets to the tune Rs.66.65 crore, disproportionate to her known sources of income during 1991-96 when she was chief minister for the first time. (Source: livemint)