Apex court stalls action in case against Jayalalitha


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Tuesday suspended a case of electoral malpractice registered against former Tamil Nadu chief minister J. Jayalalitha by the Election Commission.

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A bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice R.V. Raveendran suspended further probe and action in the case asking the Election Commission to "maintain the status quo" till disposal of a petition by Jayalalitha.

The AIADMK chief had filed the petition challenging the case registered by the Election Commission in Chennai for filing of nomination papers by her from four constituencies during the April 2001 assembly elections.

Admitting Jayalalitha's petition, the apex court issued notices to the Tamil Nadu government and the Election Commission, seeking their replies within eight weeks.

The Election Commission had got the case registered Monday on the orders of the Madras High Court, which had on June 13 asked the poll panel to lodge the complaint with police for contesting in four assembly segments and making false declarations in nominations papers.

The high court order had come on a petition by DMK parliamentarian C. Kuppuswamy, who pointed out to the court that as per the Representation of the People Act, 1951, a candidate is entitled to contest elections on a maximum of two seats at a time.

Jayalalitha had filed nomination papers to fight elections from four assembly seats – Andipatti, Krishnagiri, Bhuvanagiri and Pudukotti – and made allegedly false declaration to the returning officer that she was contesting from only two constituencies.

However, all her nomination papers were rejected for a different reason – she had been convicted by a trial court in a land deal scam, entailing a three year jail term. And as per the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, a convict with a jail term is disqualified from xontesting an election.