Madras HC passes strictures against sessions Judge

The Madras High Court Bench here has passed strictures against a sessions judge describing his conduct as “reckless” for awarding 10 years of imprisonment in a murder case for which minimum punishment should be life sentence and also for disregarding its order seeking an explanation.

A bench, comprising Justice A.Selvam and Justice T Mathivanan, said fourth Additional District and Sessions judge here N Venkatavaradan did not respond to a judicial order passed on February 26 last seeking his explanation for imposing a lesser sentence than what was prescribed by law.

The court, allowing an appeal, modified the sentence to life imprisonment.

?The trial judge has not cared to give proper respect to the order passed by this Bench? and therefore this court has no other option, except to pass reproof and denounce the approach made by the trial judge as well as his reckless conduct,” the bench said.

Since strictures had been made against the trial judge, a copy of this judgement was ordered to be sent to the Registrar General for placing before the Chief Justice for keeping it in the personal file of the judicial officer.

The case related to the murder of a businessman P Ilayaraja here on July 1, 2008 due to professional rivalry.

Police had filed a charge sheet against six persons and after the trial, the Sessions Judge on September 10, 2014 had acquitted two of the accused and convicted the rest under Section 302 (murder) of Indian Penal Code.

But he imposed life sentence on two of the convicts and 10 years of imprisonment on the other two.

The victim’s brother, P. Senthil, filed the appeal in the high court, seeking enhancement of the sentence.

The judges allowed the appeal and modified the sentence to life imprisonment.

 

Gangrape case: Supreme Court defers hearing over counsel row

A day after two lawyers appeared before the Supreme Court claiming to represent one of the six accused in the December 16 gangrape case, the sessions Judge has been asked by the court conducting the trial to find out who the actual counsel was and if he wanted to pursue the case for transferring the trial to a court outside Delhi.

A bench headed by chief justice Altamas Kabir adjourned the hearing after the advocates indulged in verbal dual and began making claims and counterclaims for representing accused Mukesh. Refusing to hear the case, the sessions judge has been asked by the Supreme Court bench to find out who the accused’s actual counsel was.

As soon as advocate ML Sharma, who claimed to have filed the plea on behalf of accused Mukesh to seek transfer of trial to Mathura in UP on the ground of prejudice and charged atmosphere, started arguments, another lawyer VK Anand objected saying Sharma was no more associated with the case.

It was then that the Supreme Court bench asked the advocate-on-record to appear before it at noon to find out the truth. When the matter was again taken up after lunch, Anand did a U-turn, saying he has been authorised by the accused to represent him only in the trial court.

Sharma then alleged that Mukesh is being tortured by the police and Anand was trying to create hindrance in hearing of the transfer plea in the gangrape case in which arguments on charges will commence from Thursday.

The court then directed the sessions judge to talk to Mukesh and find out the truth behind these allegations and posted the matter for hearing on January 30.

Mukesh, who along with four others, has been charged with murder, gangrape and unnatural offences, has alleged that in view of regular agitations, police and judicial officials are under pressure to pass orders according to the demands of the agitators and hence, a fair hearing is not possible. “The sentiment has gone into the root of each home in Delhi by which even the judicial officers and the state are not spared and in these circumstances, he cannot get justice in Delhi at all,” Mukesh’s plea said.

Besides Mukesh, bus driver Ram Singh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, have been charged with offences of murder, gangrape, attempt to murder, kidnapping, unnatural offences, dacoity, hurting in committing robbery, destruction of evidence, criminal conspiracy and common intention under IPC. Their sixth accomplice is a juvenile and is being tried separately before the Juvenile Justice Board.