Jayalalithaa death, treatment must be probed in ‘eminent public interest’


The Hindu

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Jayalalithaa death, treatment must be probed in ‘eminent public interest’

The Tamil Nadu Government in the Supreme Court on Tuesday described former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa as “undoubtedly one of the tallest leaders” of the State whose 75-day treatment, and finally death, at the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai need to be inquired into in “eminent public interest”.

Appearing before a Bench of Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari, senior advocate Dushyant Dave, for the State, said “all the Government wants is an inquiry”.

The State narrated a series of events “which showed the seriousness of her death”. “Her estate was burgled within days. A guard there was murdered. Another person’s wife and daughter were killed. A third person manning the computer died… All this shows the seriousness of her death,” Dave submitted.

He said the investigation into these cases was on. The State was replying to a petition filed by the Apollo Hospitals alleging bias on the part of the Government-appointed Justice A. Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry into the former Chief Minister’s death.

During the hearing, the court asked whether the Commission can be reconstituted. To this, Dave referred to precedents of the apex court which held that the Executive, once it has constituted a Commission of Inquiry, cannot interfere in its functioning or usurp its powers. He said the Commission was merely a “fact-finding body”. Its report would be purely recommendatory in nature. “No prejudice would be caused to anybody,” he noted.

The proceedings before the Commission were stayed by the Supreme Court in April 2019 on the basis of a plea by Apollo Hospitals that the inquiry panel’s functioning was “replete with bias”.

Apollo Hospitals submitted that the Commission, instead of conducting an impartial probe, had filed a pleading alleging “criminal intent” on the part of the hospital and its doctors.

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