The three-time Chief Minister Ms. Jayalalithaa was sentenced to four years’ simple imprisonment and a hundred crore rupees fine was imposed on her for offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Special Judge John Michael D’Cunha was with the view that such “serious” charges of corruption should be dealt with strictly and directed Court Registry to communicate the verdict to the Governor and the Speaker of the Assembly.
The judgment of the case was pronounced on 27 September 2014 in the Special Court which convicted all four accused namely Jayalalithaa, Sasikala Natarajan, Ilavarasi and V.N. Sudhakaran and sentenced all to four year simple imprisonment. While Jayalalithaa was fined hundred crore rupees, the other three were fined ten crore each and in consequence Ms. Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as an MLA and lost her position as C M. Now she would be barred from contesting elections for the period of conviction i.e. four years plus six years — a total of 10 years. This was the strong stand which was taken up by the Judge. He sentenced an exemplary punishment with considering a huge monetary penalty which is a warning to those indulging in such pernicious practices of corruption.
Today it came to know that Jayalalithaa’s lawyers are planning to file an appeal before the High Court of Karnataka against the special court verdict and also seek her release on bail. Since the High Court was on vacation, the application may be taken up by a vacation Bench on 30.09.2014. On other hand the prosecution team said that the State would oppose applications seeking stay on the sentence and conviction.
Procedure says that when a bail application moved under section 439 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, this is the discretionary power of the Court to consider it or not and if Court considers, the Court will notify to the State about such matter. We believe that stay on conviction is deemed necessary to get her disqualification suspended. According to Section 389 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the appellate court has the power to suspend both the sentence and enlarge the appellant on bail.
Section 389(1) empowers the Appellate Court to order that the execution of the sentence or order appealed against be suspended pending the appeal. What can be suspended under this provision is the execution of the sentence or the execution of the order. Does ‘Order’ in Section 389(1) empowers the Appellate Court to order that the execution of the sentence or order appealed against be suspended pending the appeal. What can be suspended under this provision is the execution of the sentence or the execution of the order. In certain situations the order of conviction can be executable, in the sense; it may incur a disqualification as in the instant case.
The attention of the Appellate Court must be specifically invited to the consequence that is likely to fall to enable it to apply its mind to the issue since under Section 389(1) it is under an obligation to support its order ‘for reasons to be recorded by it in writing’. If the attention of the Court is not invited to this specific consequence which is likely to fall upon conviction how can it be expected to assign reasons relevant thereto?
On other hand the Supreme Court has cited in a case in which a public servant has been convicted for corruption, that the conviction should not be stayed during the pendency of an appeal…