The Madras High Court on Friday asked why it should not ask the single-member commission probing the death of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa to speed up its work as it heard a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking its winding-up.
The Commission, headed by Justice (retd) A. Arumughaswamy, was constituted on August 25, 2017, and was supposed to complete its hearing within three months and submit a detailed report in both English and Tamil. However, the period of the commission’s functioning was extended from time to time.
Thondan Subramani cited these extensions in his PIL, seeking that the court cease the operations of the Commission and prevent the huge loss of money for the state government.
A bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, however, wondered as to why they should not direct the Justice Arumughaswamy Commission to complete the inquiry and to file a report in three months’ time.
The management of the Apollo Hospital where the former Chief Minister died had approached the Supreme Court regarding the correctness of the commission’s inquiry particularly the medical treatment provided to her. In 2019, the Supreme Court had stayed the entire proceedings of the commission following another petition moved by the Apollo hospital.
The petitioner, in his plea, said that there was no progress in the activities of the commission but the taxpayer’s money was being spent. He also noed that neither the state government nor the commission had moved the Supreme Court to vacate the interim stay.
The court admitted the plea and directed the state government to file its report in six weeks’ time on the PIL.