Justice A. Arumughaswamy Commission enquiring into the circumstances surround the death of former Chief Minister J Jayalalitha on Tuesday barred any telecast or debate on on its terms of reference to scotch speculation in this regard.
The gag order, which covers print and TV media, was issued to preempt any such speculation on the occasion of the second death anniversary of Jayalalitha.
An immediate trigger was a series of speculative reports being telecast by DMK-controlled Sun TV to suggest that there is more to Jaya's death than what meets the eye.
The commission passed the order after hearing arguments on an application filed by Jayalalithaa’s former aide VK Sasikala about a documentary on Jayalalitha’s death that was broadcast on Sun News.
Ms. Sasikala’s lawyer N. Raja Senthoor Pandian wanted the channel to submit the documents used as evidence while producing the programme. On Tuesday, the counsel for Sun TV Network informed the commission that the channel would not telecast the episodes without its prior permission.
A press release by the commission's secretary said that press as well as the TV should not report any news or have the debate on "terms of reference" which includes "the circumstances and situation leading to the hospitalisation" of Jayalalitha on Sept 22, 2016 and the "treatment given till her death on Dec 15.2016".
The release said coverage of the terms of reference should not be done without its prior permission.
However, it does not cover coverage of the commission's proceedings unless they are held in camera..
The commission was set up precisely to put an end to rumours and speculation that Jayalalitha's aide V K Sasikala was responsible for her death as she alone had access along with former special secretary Sheila Balakrishnan in all the 75 days Jaya was in hospital.
The Apollo Hospitals , obviously on orders from Sasikala, did not issue periodic medical bulletins which is done whenever a VIP is treated.
Worse the Government came out with a tall claim that Jayalalitha was well enough in October, that is one month after her admission in an unconscious state, to preside over a meeting of officials to finalise Tamil Nadu's stand on the Cauvery at a meeting called by the Union Water Resources Minister.
The Edappadi Government, which came into office courtesy Sasikala, set up the commission headed by retired Madras High Court judge A Arumughaswamy in August 2017 and asked it to give its report in four months. But since then, it has got periodic extensions and is yet to complete its probe.