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What Does Jayalalitha’s Arrest Mean For Tamil Nadu’s Politics, And Democracy

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By Mayank Jain and Meghana Rathore:

The 18-year-old Disproportionate Assets Case against AIADMK supremo , J Jayalalitha culminated today at 3 p.m. after a special court summoned for trial declared its verdict and sentenced the leader for a term of 4 years in jail and a fine of Rs. 100 crore.  In addition to Jayalalitha, three others including her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, her niece Ilavarasi and her nephew and the chief minister’s disowned foster son Sudhakaran were sentenced to a 4 year term.


This case was first brought to the notice of the courts back in 1996 by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy (now a member of Bharatiya Janata Party) who had accused her of misplacing properties worth Rs. 66.65 crores disproportionate to her income sources during her first term (1991-1996).  A prosecution was hence launched and she was chargesheeted along with 3 other people in 1997. The trial was transferred to Karnataka in 2003 on grounds of speculations regarding an unfair trial in Tamil Nadu since she happened to be such a popular leader apart from being a popular actress (over 140 appearances in movies) of the yesteryears before she joined politics.

Legal implications: Doors of politics closed for the next 10 years

Jayalalitha can appeal to a higher court since it’s just a special court’s verdict. However if the conviction stands, under the Representation of People’s Act, the doors of the legislature stay shut for her for the next 10 years which include 4 years in jail and 6 years thereafter. Even if the sentence is done away with , the question of her eligibility as a legislator stays. The power to allow/disallow her rests with the HC. These legal ramifications of this verdict have been explained thoroughly by The Hindu here.

Violence hit the streets of Tamil Nadu after the verdict was announced. Effigies of DMK president M. Karunanidhi were burnt and stones were pelted at Dr. Subramanian Swamy’s residence. The angry mob took to streets against these two as they brought up the case to the notice of the courts back in 1996. Also, Jayalalitha made a statement regarding the discourse of events being a political vendetta. This verdict has certainly cast a spell of uncertainty over the political career of the 66-year-old leader in the state. This came as a shock and spells frenzy for the hitherto complacent AIADMK leaders.

After the disqualification of Rasheed Masood from the Rajya Sabha last year and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s conviction in the fodder scam case in 2013 and his subsequent disqualification from Lok Sabha, Amma’s disqualification comes as a big surprise and a bigger blow to the politics of Tamil Nadu. Dravidian parties in the region including AIADMK and DMK are popular for their inclusive and non-divisive politics that focus more around human development than anything else. The ruling party have lost their key leader to jail for 4 years which will prove to be a blow for AIADMK while opening up a small window of opportunity for the DMK to sneak in when the guard isn’t watching.

On the other hand, however, it proves to be another win for democracy, though a little too late. Even a CM and the much adored figure wasn’t spared the rod when she committed wrong and justice was finally delivered in the case filed in 1996 . Earlier too, she was dethroned in 2001 after  having been convicted in two other corruption case. Also, being one of the first Chief Ministers to be found guilty under the terms of Prevention of Corruption Act, surely does not earn her a credible reputation. However in the long drawn trial, Jayalalitha proved to be a better person and definitely a better chief minister than her counterparts. From maternity kits, canteens to socially inclusive schemes for the poor, she was mostly on track on the agenda she ran in the polls with. But, the arrest will definitely prove to be a speed breaker on the otherwise smooth highway the ruling party had managed to build since 2011.

What happens next in the politics remains to be seen but for now, democracy has triumphed over injustice and Tamil Nadu will want a better leader to take the now vacant chair of the Chief Minister. As Nietzsche rightly said, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster.”

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  1. ajith

    let our CM release… subramaniasamy and judge who gave wrong judgement will get seruppadi… if they get hold in any case r even if they enter tamilnadu that is the end for both of them…then our valukumandayan kallan karunanithi and his family will be destroyed in any way for his corruption.. this three peoples dont have the rights to say a single word about our CM. Main reason for both jude and that kaama verian samy has destroyed many college girls life by raping and etc etc. karunanithi that kallan already have three wifes. stalin(cancer disease holding kama verian) has a rape case pending. alagiri murder case kanimozhi and her keep raza 2g spectrum ete etc number of cases….but our CM has no such cases to hold and she do many helps and schemes for our tamilnadu especially our state womens are safe and secure because of our CM. now as i am a M.E degree holder i am showing my talent by saying all these truth to save our countrys amma after bharatha matha called by same name… please all our state boys girls mens and womens dont leave this by just commenting take it serious we can win… show our power.. who ever opposes amma should know the pain…also show it by votting in comming election.. its 100% sure amma will win in comming elections.. please dont spoil our state by strikes r damaging any things… it sometimes may reflect by common peoples.. so dont disturb them… and another thing please send me websites where ever we can comment surely i will be a member to comment on those websites…whoever includes in this case for opposing amma should get serrupadi in next election… jai amma jai amma… amma u will come u will surely rule again… who ever oppose this comments are not born for a good mother and not for a single mother keep in mind…

    1. Anonymous

      From the language you have used in your comment, I presume that you used to write stories in pornographic web sites( matter sites to say it in your language). You seem to have gained lot of talent through your ME degree that is evident from your comment. But it is sad that even your PG degree have not taught you to respect law, courts and judges. The court does not care with the person is a cm or amma to millions of people. It only cares one thing whether the person has committed the crime or not as per the evidences. In this particular case, there were ample evidences to prove her guilty. It appears that even by appeal, she may not get acquitted easily given the strength of the case. Stop abusing others, wait patiently for the court appeals and hearings, pray god that your amma gets released.

  2. eben

    its right she s been charged,,, the court did the right thing

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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