The Supreme Court will in a couple of hours decide on a corruption case that will have a bearing on the political uncertainty in Tamil Nadu. It will make or mar VK Sasikala’s nascent political career as she eyes the chief minister’s position in the southern state.
Justice PC Ghose and justice AK Roy will author separate verdicts in the 21-year-old disproportionate assets case. The two can either disagree completely on the merits of the allegations or could partially differ on punishment to the convicts – slightest of the differences will alter the way the case is decided.
Separate but concurring rulings
a) If both the judges hold Sasikala guilty, she will be disqualified under the representation of the people act. She will be barred from contesting polls for six years, the bar kicks in after she completes her jail term for the offence.
b) In case the two uphold the Karnataka high court judgment acquitting Sasikala then governor C Vidyasagar Rao might call for a composite floor test, as advised by attorney general Mukul Rohatgi.
c) The Supreme Court may also ask the Karnataka HC to decide the matter afresh if it finds infirmities in the procedure followed. In such a scenario the top court may set aside the HC order, which means Sasikala would stand disqualified.
a) If the two judges differ on merits of the allegations then the matter would be placed before the Chief Justice of India for setting up of a larger bench and hearing the case afresh.
b) The Karnataka HC judgment will hold till the larger bench decides the case, allowing Sasikala to stake claim to the chief minister’s job. The governor will have to follow the AG’s advice and hold a floor test.
c) If judges agree and convict Sasikala but differ on the quantum of punishment then, too, the case will go to a larger bench. But, Sasikala will be barred from elections, necessary for her as she is not an MLA.