The AG said there was no mystery to Jayalalithaa’s death and pointed out that a similar petition had already been dismissed by the HC.
Chennai: Expressing personal doubts and invoking public interest and concern over the “mystery” surrounding the death of former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa, Justice S. Vaidyanathan of the Madras high court on Thursday said if the case comes before his bench, he may order the exhumation of her body for a proper probe to unravel the truth.
The judge, part of a two-judge vacation bench along with Justice V. Parthiban, made this observation while hearing a PIL filed by AIADMK member P.A. Joseph.
The petitioner has sought the setting up of a commission comprising three retired judges of the Supreme Court to probe the “mysterious death” of Jayalalithaa, just as the death of freedom fighter Subash Chandra Bose was probed by a commission on the direction of the Calcutta high court.
“Media has raised a lot of doubts, personally I also have doubts over the statements reported in the media when Jayalalithaa was taking treatment in the hospital,” Justice Vaidyanathan said.
When the case came up for hearing, senior counsel K.M. Vijayan, appearing for the petitioner, referred to the case of Subash Chandra Bose while seeking a similar probe into Jayalalithaa’s death. Upon this, Justice Vaidyanathan asked advocate general R. Muthukumarasamy what he thought of Mr Vijayan’s petition. The AG said there was no mystery to Jayalalithaa’s death and pointed out that a similar petition had already been dismissed by the high court.
To which Justice Vaidyanathan said, “Right to life is a fundamental right. We do not want to go into the issues regarding treatment. Public should know about the same. After the demise, when there is suspicion, anybody can come and question,” and added, “I also personally have doubt over the things that came out... We saw in newspapers that the chief minister was recovering, and that she was eating, signing papers and even conducting meetings and also that she could be discharged. And then suddenly she was dead. No revenue division officer saw the body, neither were there any medical records furnished. Nothing has come out even after her demise”.
“The State government has failed to clear the doubts even after her death. Should her body be exhumed to know the truth?” he observed.
When Central government standing counsel J. Madana Gopal Rao responded by saying that the Central government knows (the truth) and it will file a counter, the Bench, issuing a notice to the Centre, including the Prime Minister’s Office, Union home and law ministries and the CBI, besides Tamil Nadu government, Tamil Nadu DGP and Apollo Hospitals, said, “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 reasons best known to them.”
Recalling a similar situation in the late 1980s when then chief minister M.G. Ramachandran was under treatment in Chennai and United States, the judge said, “When MGR was taking treatment, the government released video graph of the chief minister”.
The court posted the matter for January 9, 2017, while observing that “the petition has to be heard at length.”