SC frees murder convict, pulls up judge for parochial attitude

Court

The Supreme Court today set aside the conviction of a man, given death penalty by the trial court, and pulled up the Tamil Nadu judge for showing "parochial attitude" for justifying his decision on the ground that he had come from other state to commit the crime.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra expressed deep anguish over the justification given by the trial court in its judgement for awarding death sentence.

It also expressed agony over the trial court judge's inclination to bring in the system of "lynching" which is prevalent in Arab nations.

"Learned judge says that they have come to 'our state', forgetting the fact that there is nothing like `our state or `your state. Such parochial attitude shall not influence or sway a judicial mind.

"Learned judge has further stated, since the accused persons had come from a far away state, about 2000 km to our state for committing robbery and murder, death sentence would be imposed on them. Learned judge has adopted a very strange reasoning, needs fine tuning and proper training," it said.

The convict had filed an appeal against the Madras High Court order, which had upheld his conviction, but commuted the death penalty to life imprisonment.

"Learned trial judge has also opined that the imposition of death sentence under Section 396 of the IPC is the only weapon in the hands of judiciary under the prevailing law to help to eliminate the crime. Judiciary has neither any weapon in its hands nor uses it to eliminate crimes," the bench remarked.

"Duty of the judge is to decide cases which come before him in accordance with the constitution and laws, following the settled judicial precedents. Judge has no weapon or sword.

Judges greatest strength is the trust and confidence of the people, whom he serves," the bench said. The apex court said it is a matter of great remorse that the judge had ventured to enter into such kind of adventure.

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