Resurgence of AMMA
The acquittal of AIADMK supremo Jayalalithaa by the High Court of Karnataka is yet another thriller from the judiciary. There is mixed opinions on the judgment. Many maintains that the acquittal has sent out the clear message that the high and mighty are above the law and they can get away with anything. If many have expressed surprise and disappointment, there are an equal number, especially from Tamil Nadu, who have welcomed the judgment. However, what the Special Public Prosecutor B.V. Acharya has said over the verdict is worth mentioning. The proceedings before the Karnataka High Court hearing Jayalalithaaâ€™s appeal turned out to be a â€œone-sided affairâ€ as the prosecuting state, Karnataka, was neither a party nor was it heard, said Special Public Prosecutor. He further said that the entire appeal proceedings were conducted without making Karnataka State a party, though it was a necessary legal requirement, and added that counsels for the accused were allowed to make oral arguments for nearly two months, but no prosecutor authorised by Karnataka was present during such arguments. This despite the fact that the Supreme Court asked the HC Judge to be vigilant about the â€œcorroding effect of corruptionâ€ and the â€œgravity of the offenceâ€ and suggested him to make a â€œcomplete and comprehensive evaluation and appreciation of the evidence in its entirety before rendering his judgmentâ€ and advised him to “dispassionately render a judgment which is objectively and resolutely expressed”. Furthermore, a day after the verdict, the DMK lawyers have found a huge error in the arithmetical calculations done by Karnataka High Court Justice Kumaraswamy. They have detailed the media that while taking the loans as lawful income of the accused, the total figure was wrongly shown as Rs. 24,17,31,274 while the actual figure was Rs.10,67,31,274, which is less by Rs. 13,50,00,000 . So, at the end of the calculations when the total income is subtracted from the total assets, the disproportionate income comes to Rs.16,32,36,812, which is actually 76.75 per cent, much above the so-called permissible limit of 10 per cent.
Against this backdrop, it cannot be gainsaid that an enormous amount of time and an equally enormous amount of public resources seem to have been spent on nothing. The details of the judgment need to be studied to see what ingenious technicality was found to hold that the charges cannot be sustained. The first reaction has certainly been one of wonder. In the end, rather than a belief in the triumph of justice, a belief in miracles will be strengthened, now that all the poojas and yajnas have borne fruit. In this perspective, however, it remains a mystery as to why bail continues to elude Sadhvi Pragya even though the prosecution has completely failed to make a case that it can even present to the court. It is noteworthy that Sadhvi Pragya is an under-trial; no court of the land has found her guilty of any charge yet. The previous UPA regime was committed to keeping her in jail after raising the bogey of â€œsaffron terrorâ€. They did this by imposing MCOCA, just to deny her bail. So, let the trial be speedy and fast, she should be convicted and sentenced, if found guilty. But as terrorist charges against her become increasingly surreal, the possibility of their being substantiated in a court of law also appears to be more remote.
Coming back to Jayalalithaa, apart from the legal green signal for her to become the Chief Minister again, it is certain that Jayalalithaaâ€™s popularity will peak as people will view this most certainly as a â€œ conspiracyâ€ by her rivals to keep her out of power. It wonâ€™t be surprising if the shrewd politician in Jayalalithaa now opts for early Assembly elections after assuming power. The Opposition with or without cobbling together an alliance has virtually no chance of standing in her way now. After the verdict, one hopes that it will put an end to the culture of politically motivated cases in politics. The people are not unduly perturbed by corruption in public life as it is said to be a way of life in politics. All that the people want is a caring leader who can ensure good governance to alleviate poverty. During Jayalalithaaâ€™s years of stewardship of the state, she has proved beyond doubt that she is an astute leader who can overcome hurdles and outmanoeuvre foes. However, the legal battle is still far from over as it is inconceivable that the verdict will go unchallenged. Even if Jayalalithaa is back as Chief Minister, she cannot fully concentrate on administration if she has to fight the final legal battle in the Supreme Court.