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|April 15, 1999||
SC reserves verdict on trial of Jaya's cases
The Supreme Court today reserved its verdict on the two contentious notifications -- one issued by the Tamil Nadu government and the other by the Centre -- on the trial of All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary J Jayalalitha and others in corruption cases.
The verdict was reserved by a division bench comprising Justices G T Nanavati and S P Kurdukar on the conclusion of arguments on behalf of the parties concerned.
The first notification dated April 30, 1997, issued under section 3(1) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, was challenged by Jayalalitha, some of her erstwhile Cabinet colleagues and some bureaucrats after the Madras high court upheld its validity.
The validity of the second notification issued under section 4(2) of the PCA by the central government on February 5 this year was challenged by VOICE, a consumer activist organisation, after its public interest petition against it was dismissed by the high court.
While supporting the Centre's notification, which reallocated the corruption cases pending before three special judges to regular sessions courts, the counsel for Jayalalitha criticised the state government notification, saying it amounted to picking and choosing cases for trial against political rivals.
The counsel, senior advocate K K Venugopal, submitted that section 3(1) of the Act gave arbitrary powers to the executive, violating the right to equality of an accused in corruption cases.
Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee defended the central notification, saying section 4(2) of the Act empowers the Centre to reallocate cases pending before the special judges. He, however, did not make any comment on the state government's notification while defending the constitutional validity of section 3(1) of the Act.
Counsel for the Tamil Nadu government, senior advocate V R Reddy, said the existing courts were overburdened with the cases, requiring the setting up of new courts for speedier trial, and this was done with the concurrence of the Madras high court.
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