Madurai: Madras high court has issued notice to the state government in a case in which the Virudhunagar additional district and sessions judge awarded lesser sentence to murder convicts under IPC section 302. This followed the government’s submission that it will appeal seeking enhancement of sentence for the four convicts and also against the acquittal of a person in the case.
In the earlier hearing, the judges had rapped the sessions judge for having awarded jail terms of 10 years and seven years to convicts in a murder case, when either life imprisonment or death penalty alone ought to be given under IPC section 302. When the case was taken up on Tuesday, the additional government pleader sought a direction from the court with regard to filing the appeals since the process was lengthy. Taking note of the submission, a division bench of Justice S Vaidyanathan and Justice N Anand Venkatesh observed that on perusal of the report of the Virudhunagar sessions judge, they got to know that the judge actually intended to convict the murder accused under IPC section 304(i). However, it was an oversight on the part of the judge to have convicted them under IPC section 302.
The judges directed that steps shall be taken by the state government to file an appeal for enhancement of sentence for the four convicts and also file appeal against the acquittal of another person in the case. The bench also directed the registrar judicial of the court to keep the report of the sessions judge in a sealed cover in safe custody. Four people – Rajamanickam, Mariyaraj, Esudoss and Stephen – who murdered Micheal in 2012 had filed an appeal before the HC Madurai bench challenging the order of the sessions court. On July 10, the Virudhunagar additional district and sessions judge convicted the four accused and acquitted another person from the case.