In a measured relief to expelled AIADMK MP Sasikala Pushpa, the Supreme Court on Friday extended her protection from arrest for six weeks, while asking the Tamil Nadu government why they wanted her behind bars.
A bench, led by Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur, on an urgent mentioning by Sasikala’s lawyer and senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, questioned the State’s eagerness to have her arrested in a case registered by the Thoothukudi police against her and her family members for allegedly ill-treating and sexually abusing two domestic aides.
Ms. Sasikala had moved the Supreme Court against the summons issued to her and other accused persons by the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court to appear on August 29.
“Why are you keen on her appearance? What is the great hurry? She is a lady MP and not running away,” Chief Justice Thakur asked Tamil Nadu counsel and senior advocate Subramonium Prasad.
The court further said: “the fact that the State is keen on her appearance shows that there is more to this case than meets the eye… that this is all a counterblast against her allegations against you”.
The Bench, however, asked Ms. Pushpa and the accused to comply with the summons and directed the High Court to consider their anticipatory bail applications “uninfluenced by the fact that the Supreme Court has protected her”.
The High Court had directed the MP to appear before it on August 29 and explain how she could have signed a ”vakalat” in Madurai on August 17, authorising her lawyer C. Susi Kumar to argue the advance bail application on behalf of her, when the police claimed that she did not enter Tamil Nadu ever since the case was registered early this month.
Additional Advocate General B. Pugalendhi had said the joint anticipatory bail application was filed on August 18 as if the accused was present in Madurai. In response, the petitioners’ counsel had sought to withdraw the case.
However, turning down the request, the judge ordered all the accused, including Ms. Pushpa, to be present in the court on August 30 to respond to the allegation.