The Centre today informed the Madras High Court that the Union Home Ministry had got no request from anybody to preserve late CM J Jayalalithaa’s body till a probe into the circumstances leading to her death was over. The Centre made this submission to the bench of Acting Chief Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh and Justice R Mahadevana while responding to an AIADMK worker Joseph’s plea for a probe into the circumstances leading to Jayalalithaa’s death.
In his plea, the AIADMK worker had also claimed a representation had been sent to the Union Home Ministry to keep the late CM’s body “safe after getting inputs from experts till the commissioner concludes the inquiry.”
It was in reply to this claim that the Centre denied receiving any representation for preserving the body. While hearing Joseph’s plea, Justice Vaidyanathan heading a two-judge vacation bench earlier on December 29, had expressed doubts over the circumstances leading to the death and had indicated he may order the even exhumation of the body.
The bench had then issued notices to the Centre, the Prime Minister’s Office, the state government and Apollo Hospital among others, seeking their replies. The Centre’s Senior Standing Counsel J Madanagopala Rao filed a common reply on behalf of the PMO and the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs besides those of the Home Affairs and the Law and Justice.
In its counter, the Centre sought to reason that the PMO and the ministries of the Parliamentary Affairs, Home Affairs and the Law and Justice are “no necessary parties at all” and sought that they be dropped from the proceedings. In its counter, the Centre said as per the 7th Schedule of the Constitution of India, “Public Health and Sanitation, Hospitals and Dispensaries, Public Order, Police are State Subjects coming under List II.”
It’s primarily the concerned state government’s responsibility to deal with the subjects enumerated in the State List, it said, and accordingly, it’s the state, which is responsible for enabling necessary medical care to the chief minister.
While referring to the appointment of retired Supreme Court judges under the Commission of Inquiry Act, the Centre’s affidavit said “the state government is empowered to appoint commissions.” The petitioner had listed the sequence of events since Jayalalithaa’s hospitalisation on September 22 and had claimed the “secrecy” preceding her death gave rise to “grave doubts” over the circumstances leading to her death on December 5 at the Apollo Hospitals here after a prolonged illness.