Supreme Court grants interim bail to Jayalalithaa, other accused
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday granted interim
bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, jailed for last 20
days after her conviction in a corruption case.
A bench led by Chief Justice HL Dattu allowed
arguments by her counsel Fali S Nariman, who said Jayalalithaa’s sentences
should be suspended pending her appeal.
The bench, while also granting bail to other accused
in the case, asked all of them to ready their appeals against the conviction
within two months and posted the case for hearing on December 18.
The bench said it would consider issuing necessary
direction to the Karnataka High Court for expeditiously deciding the batch of
appeals on December 18. It also made it clear that the period of interim bail
would not be extended even for a day if the appeals are not ready.
Nariman also assured the bench that Jayalalithaa would
ask her party workers to abstain from indulging in any form of lawlessness in
protest of her conviction. The court order ensures Jayalalithaa celebrates
Diwali outside prison since the court is slated to go on a vacation for the
festival from October 18 to 26.
She had moved the court last week against the
Karnataka High Court’s dismissal of her bail plea. In her bail petition,
Jayalalithaa has also sought suspension of her four-year-jail term in the case,
besides urging the medical grounds for her entitlement to the relief.
Jayalalithaa was convicted by a special court in
Karnataka for amassing assets disproportionate to the known sources of her
income. In the wake of her conviction, she was automatically disqualified as a
MLA and also had to step down as the Chief Minister in the middle of her third
term in the chair. She handpicked party loyalist O Panneerselvam to fill in for
her as Chief Minister.
The case against her accuses Jayalalithaa of using her
first term as chief Minister from 1991 to 1996 to accumulate vast wealth.
Jayalalithaa however claimed she was a victim of political vendetta by rival
party, the DMK, which pursued the case.
Assembly elections are due in the state in 2016 and
unless her conviction is stayed or set aside, Jayalalithaa will not be able to