Jaya death probe panel opposes Apollo Hospital's plea, says 90 per cent work over
Chennai: An inquiry commission probing late Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa's death on Friday submitted in the Madras High Court that the Apollo Hospital could not seek to stall its proceedings at a stage when 90 per cent of the hearing was over and that too after participating in it.
Opposing the hospital's plea for restraining it from looking into the medical treatment given to Jayalalithaa, the Arumughaswamy Commission of Inquiry also contended before a bench of justices R Subbiah and Krishnan Ramaswamy that such relief could not be sought without first challenging the terms of reference of the panel.
Senior Counsel ARL Sundaresan, who presented the final arguments on behalf of the commission, termed the hospital's petition against going into the records on the treatment given to Jayalalithaa as a knee-jerk reaction.
If the prejudice argument of the hospital was to be accepted, the inquiry had to be wound up, he said.
The council said the commission was yet to prepare its final report as it had to question the politicians concerned. Till now, only doctors, officials and others have been examined.
The Apollo Hospitals was free to challenge the final report of the commission once it was out, but they could not challenge the proceedings at this stage, he said.
Rejecting the charge of bias and prejudice levelled by the hospital, he said a bundle of facts had already been collected and recommendations would be made by the commission in its report to the government, which would then take a call on accepting or rejecting those.
Legally, such allegations could not be levelled against a commission of inquiry since it was not an adjudicating authority, he added.
Sundaresan said the ultimate mandate of the commission was to find out the truth and rule out rumours regarding the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa's death.
Noting that 90 per cent of the proceedings was already completed, he said the hospital could not seek to stall the proceedings without challenging the government order setting up the panel or the terms of reference, that too after participating in the hearings so far.
Recording the submissions, the bench directed the commission and the hospital to file their written arguments by March 12 and adjourned the matter to that date.
Jayalalithaa died on December 5, 2016, over two months after being treated for various complications, including infection, since September 22.
The state government had set up the inquiry commission headed by retired high court judge A Arumughaswamy to look into the circumstances leading to the death of the late AIADMK supremo, citing doubts expressed by various people.