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court till the framing of charges)

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 3 (UNI) The Supreme Court today directed a Chennai trial court, dealing with a case of non-filing of Income Tax returns by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her associate Sasikala Natrajan for the year 1993-94 despite having taxable income, to decide on the framing of charges against them within two months.

A bench comprising Mr Justice B N Aggarwal and Mr Justice A K Mathur, however, said that the trial court will consider and dispose of the application for discharge filed by the two accused and till the framing of charges they need not appear personally before the trial court.

The order, came during resumed hearing of the petition filed by the Income Tax Department, challenging Chennai High court order refusing to direct the AIADMK supremo and her close associate to appear before the trial court.

The court, also directed that the hearing of the case would proceed on day-today-basis unless there was a stay order by any superior court.

Ms Jayalalithaa, has been dragging on the court proceedings since 1996 for not appearing in the court. On the last date of hearing, the apex court took umbrage at the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for making mockery of the judicial process and also told her to set an example for the people by appearing in the court.

The court also expressed annoyance with the two alleged ''tax evaders'', when they asked for six-weeks time to file a counter, saying ''what counter can she file in such a case''.

UNI AKS/SC HS GC1334

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