New Delhi, Oct 23 The Supreme Court has upheld the life sentences awarded to 17 members of the upper castes, who had killed 6 members of the Scheduled Caste community.
In all, 40 people were charged with murder, rioting, unlawful assembly and also under Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
The trial judge convicted the 17 people for murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. Madras High Court also dismissed the appeals of Alagarsamy and others.
A bench comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and Deepak Verma, while dismissing the appeal of all the 17 appellants noted ”After all, the FIR is not a be all and end-all of the matter though it is undoubtedly a very important document.
In most of the cases the FIR provides corroboration to the evidence of the maker there of. It provides a direction to the investigating officer and the necessary clue about the crime and perpetrators there of.
True it is that a concocted FIR, where in some innocent people are deliberately introduced as accused people, raises a reasonable doubt about the prosecution story.” Justice Sirpurkar while writing the 30-page judgememt for the bench yesterday also noted ”We cannot blame the investigating agency and the prosecution for not being able to trace out the FIR book.
There are always wheels within a wheel and therefore there can also be a possibilty of some interested person secreting the said FIR book.
The question is whether the non-availibilty of the FIR book, by itself, could invite the suspicious glance from the court. In our opinion that circumstance, by itself, will not persuade us to throw the whole prosecution case.” The unfortunate incident had occured on June 30, 1997, when angry upper castes attacked the members of SC community (Adidravida community) after their man was elected as the Pradhan of the village.