When Money Speaks Louder Than Judiciary


Clearing former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayaram Jayalalitha, of involvement in a corruption scandal, a Karnataka High Court Judge has freed Amma one day after Mother’s Day. Convicted and sentenced for 4 years with a fine of Rs. 100 crore by a trail court in September, she and three associates had been charged for amassing disproportionate assets amounting to more than 10 million dollars.

As the high court in the state of Karnataka announced its verdict, an overjoyed Jayalalitha said, Truth and justice have prevailed,” adding, “I am immensely satisfied, the verdict has paved the way for me to emerge as tested pure gold.” Not only did she have a great smile on her face but just after the verdict was delivered, her fans began distributing sweets and shouting slogans as tears of joy rolled down their faces, outside her home in Chennai.

Unsurprising as it may be, this judgment comes in the wake of Salman Khan’s bail and the suspension of his conviction that held him guilty of culpable homicide in the 2002 hit-and-run case. Both the cases and the pattern in which the verdicts have been delivered underline the bias inherent in the Indian Judicial system. As a Twitter user, Rana Ayyub tweeted, “Jaya verdict and Salman Khan bail. Do we need any more proof? Hail the rich and powerful.”

Now that Jayalalitha is good to return to head the Southern state of Tamil Nadu, an array of populist government schemes are expected to be announced without further deferral. As it is quite clear that the present head of state is, at present, under enormous pressure coming from the opposition over poor governance, Jayalalitha’s come back might be more than welcome. A former actress appearing in more than 100 movies, her supporters are in awe of her poverty relief efforts.

However, soon after the verdict, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy tweeted, “In my appeal to SC in JJ (J Jayalalitha) disproportionate assets case I will prove that the KHC (Karnataka High Court) judgment is a ‘tragedy of arithmetic errors’.” The original complainant in the case, Swamy had registered a case against Amma, accusing her of hoarding assets that seemed disproportionate to her sources of income. Known for her luxurious lifestyle, the police had once discovered more than 10,000 saris and 750 pairs of shoes that belonged to her, during a raid.

A day after Amma’s acquittal, the Karnataka government-appointed Special Public Prosecutor (SSP) B. V. Acharya said that the verdict passed in favour of Jayalalitha was erroneous as the judge had made tragic mistakes in calculating the disproportionate assets (DA) of the former CM as 8.12%. The actual percentage falls way above 70%, which is a glaring figure.

While some are hailing her acquittal, some are mourning the death of justice in the nation.

Sangeeta Purkayastha

Image Source: The Viewspaper