Time will tell whether Jaya will win in the Supreme Court, as in 2001, or have to take a very long leave of absence. Either way, it cannot be a very comfortable time for Amma. 


Jayalalithaa is currently in her second consecutive term as Tamil Nadu’s chief minister. But the term carries a rider. She will have to step down if the Supreme Court doesn’t acquit her in the disproportionate assets case pending against her.


The case, which accuses Jaya and three of her associates of holding assets disproportionate to their incomes and originally filed by Subramanian Swamy in 1996, reached the Karnataka High Court last year after a guilty verdict in the lower courts. 


However, the High Court acquitted Jayalalithaa of all charges on appeal. The Karnataka government has filed another appeal in the Supreme Court against the acquittal.


If the Supreme Court reverses the High Court order and finds her guilty, Jaya will have to serve a jail term and will not be allowed to contest an election for six years. She will also have to step down as chief minister and appoint someone else in the chair. 


The Supreme Court will be on vacation from May 15 to June 28. The case will be taken up only after it resumes its functioning.


This is not the first time Jaya has faced the prospect of stepping down. 


In the May 2001, Jaya was forced to resign in the wake of the ruling against her in the Tamil Nadu Small Industries Cooperation (TANSI) scam. 


However, Jaya appealed the verdict and the Supreme Court reversed the conviction. AIADMK senior leader O Paneerselvam was made the chief minister in September 2001, till Jaya fought the by-election from Andipatti constituency and, as usual, won with massive votes in February 2002. 


In 2014, when special court John Michael D’Cunha ruled that Jaya, Shashikala, Ilavarasi and Dinakaran were guilty in the disproportionate assets case, Jaya had to step down for the second time. Paneerselvam took on the CM mantle that time as well. 


Jaya returned to power on January 5, 2015, when a Bangalore High Court acquitted Jaya in a two-line order.

 

Time will tell whether Jaya will win in the Supreme Court, as in 2001, or have to take a very long leave of absence. Either way, it cannot be a very comfortable time for Amma.