Sunday, Apr 21, 2002
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By J. Venkatesan
The Supreme Court, by an order in February last, admitted the CBI's SLP challenging the order of the Madras High Court dated August 30, 2000, directing a special court in Chennai not to proceed with the trial pending disposal of a writ appeal from Ms. Jayalalithaa.
The court, which suspended the High Court order and allowed trial to continue, had issued notice to Ms. Jayalalithaa, A.C. Muthiah, Chairman of SPIC, C. Ramachandran, former State Industries Secretary and others. However, the court made it clear that the special court would not pronounce judgment in the case without its prior permission.
In her response to the SLP, Ms. Jayalalithaa submitted that the XI Additional Sessions Judge, Chennai, had no jurisdiction to try cases investigated by the CBI and only for this reason, the High Court had stayed the proceedings.
She said that if pending adjudication of the writ appeal in the High Court, evidence was recorded and she was to disclose her defence before the special court without jurisdiction, serious and irreparable prejudice would be caused to her.
Apart from the wastage of resources and efforts, the attendant publicity would cause her irreparable harm. The Cr.P.C. did not permit proceedings to continue in a court without jurisdiction, she contended and sought dismissal of the SLP.
On a writ petition from the Janata Party president, Subramanian Swamy, a single judge of the High Court had directed Ms. Jayalalithaa and others to deposit the estimated loss amount of Rs. 28.29 crores to the State exchequer.
On an appeal by Ms. Jayalalithaa, a Division Bench of the High Court stayed the single judge's order and directed the special court not to proceed with the trial of the case (being pursued by the CBI) and the SLP was directed against this order.
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