Chennai, December 29
A vacation Bench of the Madras High court today expressed deep concern over the ‘mystery’ behind the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and ordered notices to the Central and the State Governments, including the office of the Prime Minister, and also sought to know whether her body should be exhumed to know the truth.
When the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by AIADMK worker P J Joseph seeking to appoint a commission comprising three retired Supreme Court judges to probe into the “mysterious” death of Jayalalithaa came up for hearing, the Bench, comprising Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice Parthiban, adjourned the matter to January 9 and referred the PIL to the Chief Justice for listing before an appropriate Bench. ”Why can’t we order exhumation of the body of Jayalalithaa”, the Bench asked, clearly expressing its unhappiness over the secrecy maintained by people around Jayalalithaa, who was declared dead on December five after 75 days of hospitalisation and her body was buried at the MGR Memorial on the Marina beach front the next day. “Even we have our own doubts about that”, the Bench noted and observed that “the State government has failed to clear the doubts even after her death.”
”Should her body be exhumed to know the truth?”, the Bench asked. Ordering notices to the Central Government, including the PMO, and the Tamil Nadu government, the Bench especially censured the Union government for not revealing any information on the ”mystery” surrounding her death.
“Representatives of the Central government visited the hospital. Counsel for the Union government claims to know the details of the incidents. But still the authorities have not conveyed or brought out anything to the people, for the reasons best known to them,” it 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
Pointing out that neither a Revenue Division Officer (RDO) had seen the body, not any medical records furnished, the bench sought to know why some proof was not given even after her death.
”Why not, at least after her death, some proof was given”, it asked.
The petition was filed relying on a precedent set by the Calcutta High Court in 1999, directing the constitution of a one-man commission of a retired apex court judge to probe into the death of ‘Netaji’ Subhash Chandra Bose.
The petitioner sought the appointment of a similar commission under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 to find out the truth behind Jayalalithaa’s death.
The petitioner also prayed fgor an interim order to the State authorities and the Apollo Hospitals calling for all official and other relevant records and documents in connection with the death.
Chennai, December 29