A division bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam dismissed a petition filed by advocate ML Ravi seeking to restrain the state from constructing the memorial. Ravi had argued that the state should not construct a memorial for a person convicted in a disproportionate assets case.
A trial court had convicted the former chief minister in 2014, but a year later the Karnataka High Court overturned the trial court verdict and acquitted her. The High Court noted that the Supreme Court had ruled in 2017 that Jayalalithaa will not be declared a convict since the top court had decided to abate the charges against her in an illegal assets case after her death in December 2016.
The division bench had reserved its order on the matter on December 19 after the Tamil Nadu government said that the memorial costing Rs 50 crore would be completed by March 2019. On Wednesday, the High Court asked the state government to take policy decisions keeping in mind interests of people.
The state had argued that constructing a memorial for a former chief minister was not new and that Jayalalithaa deserved one since she was a popular leader.
A lawyer, S Jayaseelan, and social activist KR “Traffic” Ramaswamy had also petitioned the Madras High Court, questioning the legitimacy of constructing a memorial to a leader who had been convicted of corruption. Jayaseelan had claimed that the project did not have the necessary building permissions.