J Jayalalithaa, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 27 September 2014 was found guilty in the disproportionate assets case by the Special Court in Bangalore. The Court pronounced a jail term of 4 years and fined 100 crore rupees to her.
The judgment of the 18-year-old 66.65 crore rupees disproportionate assets case against Jayalalitha was pronounced by the special court in Bangalore amid tight security.
Apart from Jayalalithaa, the court also accused three others in the case, namely Sasikala Natarajan, Ilavarasi and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son V N Sudhakaran.
With this conviction, she became the first incumbent chief minister in India to be disqualified from holding office due to conviction in a disproportionate assets case.
SC judgement on tainted politicians
The Supreme Court on 10 July 2013 had held that chargesheeted Members of Parliament and MLAs, on conviction for offences, will be immediately disqualified from holding membership of the House without being given three months’ time for appeal, as was the case before.
A Bench of Justices A.K. Patnaik and S J Mukhopadhaya struck down Section 8 (4) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 as unconstitutional. Section 8 (4) of the RPA, 1951 allowed convicted lawmakers a three-month period for filing appeal to the higher court and to get a stay of the conviction and sentence.
The Bench, however, made it clear that the ruling will be prospective and those who had already filed appeals in various High Courts or the Supreme Court against their convictions would be exempt from it.
Reason for constitution of the Bangalore’s Special Court
The disproportionate assets case against Jayalalithaa was transferred to Bangalore's Special Court in 2003 by the Supreme Court on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan. The DMK leader expressed doubts over conduct of fair trial in Tamil Nadu as Jayalalithaa ruled the state then.
The disproportionate assets case was filed in 1996 by the then DMK government led by M. Karunanidhi. Also, the Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy in 1996 also filed a petition against Jayalalithaa in the case.
The charge against her was that Jayalalithaa’s assets which was 3 crore rupees in 1991, grew to 66 crore rupees during her first tenure as chief minister from 1991 to 1996. Although, she announced that during her tenure she would take 1 rupee as her salary.
In the political career of Jayalalithaa, this was not the first time that she was convicted by a Court, earlier also in 2000, a trial court sentenced Jayalalithaa for three years and two years imprisonment in two cases. After which in 2001, she stepped down as the Chief Minister following a Supreme Court verdict that held that she cannot hold the office being convicted for criminal offences.
About J Jayalalithaa
• In 1980s, she was made the propaganda secretary of AIADMK by founder-leader M.G. Ramachandran
• She entered the Rajya Sabha in 1984
• In 1989, she was elected to the Tamil Nadu assembly for the first time after which she became the Chief Minister of the state in 1991
• She is the second female chief minister of Tamil Nadu after Janaki Ramachandran
• She is called Amma (Mother) and Puratchi Thalaivi (Revolutionary Leader) by her followers
• Before starting her political career, she acted in over 100 movies mostly in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada. She also acted in few Hindi and English films.
• She made her debut in a Kannada movie at the age of 16.
• Some of her films included Vennira Aadai (her first Tamil movie), Pattikada Pattanama, Aayirathil Oruvan (for which she won Filmfare Award for Best Actress in 1973) Sri Krishna Satya
• Her last film was the Nadhiyai Thedi Vandha Kadal (1980)
• She was born on 2 February 1948
Who: J Jayalalithaa
Where: in Bangalore
When: 27 September 2014