The Supreme Court on Monday refused to interfere with a Madras High Court order allowing the construction of a mausoleum for former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa at the Marina Beach in Chennai.
“Having heard the petitioner-in-person and upon perusing the relevant material, we are not inclined to interfere. The special leave petition is accordingly dismissed,” a Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.
The Madras High Court had in January dismissed a Public Interest Litigation filed against the use of public money to construct a mausoleum for Jayalalithaa after holding that she cannot be described as a convict since the Supreme Court had not set aside her acquittal from a disproportionate assets case by the Karnataka High Court.
A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and P. Rajamanickam had pointed out that she had died before the disposal of an appeal preferred against the acquittal, and the Supreme Court had not specifically set aside her acquittal from the case after dealing with the matter on its merits. The Supreme Court had only said the appeal against her stood abated.
Therefore, as a necessary corollary, it must be construed that she must be given the benefit of her acquittal from the case by the Karnataka High Court and, therefore, not be branded as a convict, the Bench observed.
The petition was filed by advocate M.L. Ravi of the Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi on the sole ground that she was a ‘convict’ and therefore, public funds should not be used for the construction of a mausoleum for her. The petitioner, however, had no objection to private funds being used for the construction of the mausoleum.