[TP Chandrashekaran Murder] Kerala High Court To Pronounce Order In Plea For Enhancement Of Accused's Life Sentences

Update: 2024-02-27 08:55 GMT
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The Kerala High Court will pronounce its orders on the plea for enhancement of sentence in the TP Chandrashekaran murder case at 3.30 PM today. The leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) was murdered due to political rivalry on May 4, 2012.The Division Bench comprising Justice A.K.Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Kauser Edappagath was considering the appeals for enhancement of...

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The Kerala High Court will pronounce its orders on the plea for enhancement of sentence in the TP Chandrashekaran murder case at 3.30 PM today. The leader of the Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) was murdered due to political rivalry on May 4, 2012.

The Division Bench comprising Justice A.K.Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Kauser Edappagath was considering the appeals for enhancement of sentence moved by the State and Chandrashekaran's wife. The Court was considering various aggravating and mitigating circumstances in the case while hearing the plea for enhancement of sentence. It stated that the crime was committed against democracy and would take a strong view for preventing political murders in Kerala. The Court also sought possibility and assurance from the part of the accused persons regarding chances of reformation.

The Counsel for the State argued that the convicts may be imposed with a maximum punishment of the death penalty considering the heinous nature of the crime. It was argued that “Imprisonment for life is too insufficient to meet the ends of justice…..No other mode of punishment will serve justice…

The Public Prosecutor further argued that the crime committed was against democracy since Chandrshekaran was murdered for expressing his objections and dissent against the Communist Party of India (CP(I)M). It was submitted that Chandrshekaran was merely exercising his fundamental right to free speech and expression guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Public Prosecutor also submitted that assassins were hired to commit the murder and the murder was the result of a pre-planned conspiracy for satisfaction of political motives. Relying upon the Apex Court decision in Madan v State of Uttar Pradesh (2023), it was argued that the murder has affected the collective conscience of the entire community and warrants the death penalty.

Further, the Public Prosecutor argued that there was no possibility of reformation and that no leniency should be shown. The State also alleged that the reports obtained from the jail from the probationary officer and Jail Superintendents regarding the conduct of the accused were incomplete and alleged that many criminal cases were lodged against the accused while they were in jail or during parole.

The Counsel appearing on behalf of K K Rema, wife of Chandrashekaran submitted that in a span of 25 years until 2016, Kerala has witnessed 106 political murders. It was submitted that the murder of her husband was part of a larger conspiracy and prayed that justice be served by upholding maximum punishment. It was submitted that political murders like this should not happen again in Kerala and imposition of maximum punishment on the accused would act as a deterrent.

The Counsel appearing on behalf of the accused argued that the Trial Court had found that there were no special reasons to impose the death penalty in this case since it does not fall under the category of rarest of rare cases. Based on Apex Court decisions, it was also submitted that the prosecution has not submitted any evidence before the Trial Court and High Court to prove that the accused persons were hard-core criminals with no possibility of reformation.

It was further submitted that they have been in jail for the past twelve years since the appeal hearing was delayed and would like to reconcile with their family. They also pointed out the age and other medical illnesses of the accused persons as mitigating circumstances warranting a lenient consideration from the Court. Relying upon the psychiatric report, it was argued that the accused were not a threat to society.

Last week, the High Court confirmed the trial court judgment and convicted 11 accused under Section 302 (punishment for murder) and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy). It also upheld the conviction of the Trial Court and convicted accused No. 31 under Section 201 IPC (causing the disappearance of evidence and giving false information). The Court also set aside the acquittal of the 10th and 12th accused and convicted them also under Sections 120B read with Section 302 IPC.

Case title: K C Ramachandran v State of Kerala & Connected Matters

Case number: Crl.A Nos. 172, 174, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 339, 403, 892 of 2014 and Crl.Appeal (Victim) No.571 of 2015

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