HC sets aside life sentence awarded to murder accused in TN

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Chennai, Apr 10 (UNI) In a significant judgement, Madras High Court today set aside the life sentence awarded to a murder accused by a Fast Track Court, and acquitted him for hurriedly disposing the case after just five days of trial.

A Division Bench comprising Mr Justice D Murugesan and Mr Justice V Periyakaruppaiah, set aside the Chengalpattu Fast Track Court order convicting and sentencing one Iruthayaraj to life imprisonment on June three, 2005, in connection with the murder of an ice factory staff at suburban Tambaram on May 11, 2005.

Allowing the criminal appeal filed by the accused, the Bench said the lower court had conducted the trial in a hurried manner. The prosecution had finished the case within 19 days after the filing of chargesheet without giving proper opportunities for the accused to defend his case.

Despite the accused pleading guilty, the Lower court, by fixing a Legal Aid service advocate and finishing the case, had not given him enough time to engage his own lawyer.

Acquitting the accused, the Bench observed that it is the cardinal principle that justice should not be delayed and said ''justice delayed is justice denied''. ''But at the same time, it should also be borne in mind that hurried justice is buried justice'', the Bench observed.

The Bench noted that speedy justice as per the Constitution does not mean violation of the rights of the accused in a criminal case. ''The case has to be disposed off as expeditiously as possible without any delay,'' the Bench added.

''In this case, the hurried investigation had caused havoc to the accused and the discrepancy in the prosecution case will go a long way to show that the benefit of doubt should be given to the accused'', the Bench said and acquitted Iruthayaraj on the ground that the prosecution had not come forward with a genuine case and with proper investigation.

It may be recalled that Iruthayaraj was charged with murder and the chargesheet was filed before the court in just four days from the date of crime.

Later, the charges were framed against him by the trial court within 16 days from the date of occurrance of crime. The case was posted for trial on May 30, 2005, and after completion of the trial, the judgement was pronounced on June three, after just five days of trial.


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