[JURIST] The High Court of Kanartaka [official website], on Monday cleared former chief minister of Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa Jayaram, of all corruption charges on appeal. In the judgment [NYT report], Justice CR Kumaraswamy wrote that the lower court ruling “suffer[ed] from infirmity, and is not sustainable law.” Monday’s decision will allow Jayaram to run in next year’s election, possibly allowing her to return to office. Supporters of Jayaram called her conviction calamitous, and the prosecution expressed shock that it had been overturned.
After 18 years of litigation, Jayaram was convicted of corruption [JURIST report] and sentenced to four years in prison in September. She was found “guilty of amassing wealth disproportionate to known sources of her income.” The sentence stripped Jayaram of her position as chief minister, as Indian law prohibits any politician from holding public office after being sentenced to more than two years in jail. Last year Indian President Pranab Mukherjee [official website] signed into law [JURIST report] a landmark anti-graft bill. The new law created a corruption ombudsman with extensive power to prosecute politicians and civil servants to create a “bribe-free India.” In 2013 India’s supreme court ruled [JURIST report] that elected representatives convicted of serious crimes must immediately vacate their positions and be disqualified from future elections.