Saturday, Nov 22, 2003
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By Suresh Nambath
The issue went much beyond the question of Ms. Jayalalithaa owning moral responsibility for the failure of the prosecution in the case against her. As she was accused of subverting the cause of justice, which was an offence under the penal code and several provisions of law, Ms. Jayalalithaa must step down, he said in an interview to The Hindu. There was direct complicity in the offence, he added.
Ms. Jayalalithaa, he pointed out, was not an ordinary accused who had used money power, caste power or muscle power. She was the Chief Minister and she had used State power to subvert justice, which was a "serious" matter. The conclusion to be drawn from the "hand-in-glove" observation of the Supreme Court was that there were two kinds of indictment of Ms. Jayalalithaa. First, she was indicted as the accused in the wealth case, and the other as the Chief Minister who had abused State power.
Ms. Jayalalithaa also ought to take the blame for the indictment of the Public Prosecutor. If she had continued with the prosecutor appointed by the previous DMK Government, she would have been relatively blameless. But the present Public Prosecutor was appointed by her Government. The Public Prosecutor behaved not as a servant of the state or as an officer of the court, but as a servant of the ruling party or of Ms. Jayalalithaa. As the Chief Minister herself had chosen the Public Prosecutor, she had to bear responsibility for his indictment. In the same way, Ms. Jayalalithaa would have to take responsibility for the inaction of the Law Minister who took oath of office to uphold the Constitution and the law, but was a silent spectator when the subversion of justice took place. Again, the Law Minister was her appointee, and she would have to take the blame for his indictment, he said.
Mr. Chidambaram opined that the transfer of cases to other States could become a new trend after the Jayalalithaa wealth case and the Best Bakery case, but this would not be a permanent solution. The lower judiciary and the prosecutors must be insulated from external influence. One way of doing this was through the appointment of an independent Director of Public Prosecutions. The wealth case had proved that the lower judiciary was under pressure, though it was not clear why it was not secure, he said.
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