CHENNAI: THE First Bench of the Madras High Court has rejected a plea to restrain the State government from observing officially the ‘annual death day’ of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa on December 5, till the one-man commission headed by Justice A Arumughaswamy declares the official date of her death, after getting scientific proof from fingerprint and forensic experts.
The Bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice R Hemalatha said the writ petition, purportedly filed as a PIL, disputed the date of Jayalalithaa’s death. “With greatest respect, the court cannot adjudicate disputes with regard to the dates of death of any person,” the Bench said.
The Bench pointed out that as stated in the affidavit filed in support of the petition, the government had appointed a Commission of Inquiry headed by a retired judge of the court for the purpose of making an independent inquiry into the demise of the former CM. The commission would inquire into the cause of death as well as the date of death. Is it possible at this stage to grant the prayer, it wondered.
There is a death certificate issued by a reputable hospital, namely, Apollo Hospitals, which shows that the then CM died on December 5, 2016. Observance of death anniversary of a CM on the basis of date of death, as recorded in the certificate issued by hospital authorities, does not call for interference from this court. This court can’t decide disputes over whether letters said to have been written by the late CM were actually written by her or not. This court has neither expertise nor experience to determine the death on the basis of a thumb impression, which might have been obtained. There is no public interest in the order sought for in the petition, the Bench said.