The Supreme Court on Friday extended the bail of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa till the disposal of her appeal in the Karnataka High Court in a corruption case, in which she has been sentenced to four years in jail.
A bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu also granted the high court time till May 12 to decide the AIADMK chief’s appeal, which will be subject to a decision by a three-judge bench of the apex court.
Following a split verdict by two SC judges on the legality of the appeal proceedings in the high court, the CJI has set up a larger bench that would start hearing the matter from Tuesday next week.
The three-judge bench has to deliver its verdict on whether appearance of a special public prosecutor, who was appointed to conduct trial, was also authorised to argue in the appeal. If this bench decides that the prosecutor’s continuation had vitiated the appeal, the matter would require to be heard afresh in the high court. The deadline of May 12 would operate only if the apex court decides before that the proceedings were legally valid.
The matter had come up before the bench also because the period of granting bail expired on Friday. Senior advocate Fali S Nariman appeared for Jayalalithaa and sought an extension. He also adduced a letter sent to the top court by the Registrar General of the Karnataka High Court, which sought time till April 30 for the high court judge to deliver the verdict. The judge was earlier asked to ready the judgment by April 15. The judgment, however, had to await a final word of the apex court on the validity of the appeal proceedings.
DMK leader K Anbazhagan has sought removal of the special public prosecutor from appearing in the appeal filed before the high court, alleging bias.