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Jaya's portrait: HC observes it cannot interfere


Press Trust of India Chennai
The Madras High Court today observed it cannot interfere with the decision of Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanapal to put up a portrait of late AIADMK leader Jayalalithaa in the legislature.

In her oral observations, Chief Justice Indira Banerjee also said if the people did not like the decision of the present Speaker to unveil the portrait, it will reflect in the next elections.

The Speaker who would be elected by the next assembly will take a decision on the matter, she said during the hearing of a PIL by DMK MLA J Anbazhagan seeking removal of the portrait, unveiled on February 10.

Hearing the matter along with Justice Abdul Quddhose, the Chief Justice made the observations after counsel for the petitioner contended that the Speaker had taken the decision to unveil the portrait without consulting the committees concerned.

Anbazhagan had moved the court on February 12 barely an hour after the portrait of Jayalalithaa was unveiled in the Assembly hall by Dhanapal and sought its removal on the grounds that she was found guilty on corruption charges.

When the matter came up for hearing today, senior counsel P Wilson argued that displaying the portrait of a person who was found guilty of corruption will set a precedent.

Referring to various Supreme Court judgements, he submitted that the money of tax payers cannot be used for "illegal activities which are against the provisions of Constitution".

The Chief Justice asked the counsel what way the petitioner's rights had been violated to invoke the high court's powers to issue writs.

She made it clear that the court cannot interfere with the decision of the Speaker in this matter.

The court's interference was needed in the case of disqualification of 18 AIADMK MLAs as the personal rights of the legislators had been affected (by the Speaker's order disqualifying them), Justice Banerjee said.

The court has recently reserved its orders on the petitions filed by the 18 disqualified MLAs, loyal to sidelined AIADMK leader T T V Dhinakaran, challenging the Speaker's order of last year.

The bench then posted the petition seeking removal of the portrait to March 3 for further hearing.

According to the petitioner, Jayalalithaa was convicted by a special court on graft charges. Later the same was set aside by the Karnataka high court and on appeal the Supreme Court found all the accused guilty of the charges. In view of her demise, appeals against Jayalalithaa were treated as abated, the petitioner said.

At the same time, the co-accused were convicted; sentenced to four years imprisonment and properties belonging to them were ordered to be attached, he contended.

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First Published: Feb 26 2018 | 9:30 PM IST

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