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Judge says he may order exhuming Jaya’s body

Judge says he may order exhuming Jaya’s body
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Sharing \"people\'s doubts\" over the circumstances leading to the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, a Madras High Court judge on Thursday hinted he may order exhumation of her body on a plea seeking a high-level judicial probe into the \"secrecy\" preceding her demise. 

Chennai: Sharing "people's doubts" over the circumstances leading to the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, a Madras High Court judge on Thursday hinted he may order exhumation of her body on a plea seeking a high-level judicial probe into the "secrecy" preceding her demise.

The public should know what has happened, Justice S Vaidyanathan, heading a two-judge vacation bench, said, issuing notices to the Central Government, Prime Minister's office and the state government, among others.

His observations came when the bench, also comprising Justice V Parthiban, was hearing the PIL filed by an AIADMK worker P A Joseph seeking a probe by an inquiry commission or a fact-finding committee into the death of Jayalalithaa.

"After the demise, everybody has a right to question. I personally have a doubt. One day it was told that she is walking, another day you said that she will come out and suddenly what happened. Even with regard to the health of the late Chief Minister MGR, video was released," Justice Vaidyanathan said.

Advocate General Muthukumaraswamy, however, contended there was "no mystery" behind the AIADMK supremo's death.

Justice Vaidyanathan, however, persisted in expressing his doubt over the circumstances leading to her passing away, saying,

"Even relations were not allowed to see and they are also not before the court now. I personally find in case if I have doubt I may order exhumation of the body of deceased."

"What is that you say? Right to live is a fundamental right. Public should know what has happened," the judge asked the AG.

Turning to counsel J Madanagopala Rao, who appeared on behalf of the Centre, the Judge said, "You went there. You have not reported anything. You know everything. But not reported anything for the reasons best known to you. You kept quiet."

The judge was apparently referring to the visits by several Union Ministers to Apollo Hospitals to inquire about Jayalalithaa's condition.

The bench said, "We also saw in newspapers that the Chief Minister was recovering, that she was eating, signing papers and even conducting meetings. And then suddenly she was dead."

The bench then recorded the acceptance of notice by the counsel for the Union Government on behalf of the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministries of Home, Law and Parliamentary Affairs and CBI, and posted the matter for further hearing on January 9.

The AG accepted notice on behalf of the state government. The bench also issued notice to the Apollo Hospitals returnable by January 9.

The PIL has sought a commission comprising retired Supreme Court judges or a fact-finding committee to look into the "questionable incidents", including Jayalalithaa's sudden hospitalisation, reported recovery and finally the cardiac arrest resulting in her death on December 5.

It listed the sequence of events since Jayalalithaa's admission to Apollo Hospitals here on September 22 and claimed that the "secrecy" preceding her death gave rise to "grave doubts" in the minds of the people.

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