“In our little experience, we have not come across this kind of worst judgment. Let this be the last judgment ever written on communal consideration”, said the Bench
“In our little experience, we have not come across this kind of worst judgment. Let this be the last judgment ever written on communal consideration”, it said.
A division bench of Justices Nagamuthu and N.Seshsayee was hearing an appeal filed by convicts against the trial Court Judgment by which the Court convicted all the five accused under all the three charges and sentenced them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years and pay a fine of Rs.1000/- each in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year for the offence under Section 450 I.P.C.; to undergo imprisonment for life and pay a fine of Rs.1000/- each in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year for offence under Section 397 I.P.C. and to undergo imprisonment for life and pay a fine of Rs.1000/- each in default to undergo rigorous imprisonment for one year for offence under Section 302 I.P.C.
According to the High Court, ‘curiously, at the same time, shockingly the trial Court has convicted all the accused not on any legal ground but on mere surmises. It also observed that simply because these accused belonged to a particular community the trial Court has concluded that they would have committed the crime as according to the trial Court, the traditional occupation of the people belonging to that community was theft’.
The trial Court has extracted the alleged confession statement of all the accused in full ignoring the bar contained in Section 25 of the Evidence Act and has concluded that the accused 3 to 5 held the deceased and accused 2 attacked the deceased with a wooden rod and the first accused attacked the deceased with crowbar.
Justice Nagamuthu, who wrote the judgment, said the above extractions from the trial court judgment would go a long way to expose the prejudice the learned trial Judge had against the people belonging to a particular community.
“It is not understandable as to how a Court could presume that the people belonging to a particular community will traditionally indulge in the commission of a particular type of crimes. It is also shocking to note that the trial judge had the strong conviction that the particular community people would indulge in a particular type of crimes and the same could be inherited like a family trade”
The Court has also observed that it is not also understandable as to how the trial Court could come to the conclusion that the traditional occupation of the people belonging to that particular community was stealing. Assuming that during the primitive period, the people belonging to the said community were indulging in thefts, it is ridiculous on the part of the trial Court to conclude that in the instant case, these accused had committed murder and robbery because they belong to the said community.
“Judiciary cannot afford to decide the cases by tracing the criminal activities of the forefathers of the accused. No Court of Law can stigmatize a community as a whole. Proof beyond reasonable doubt of the guilt of an accused should be reached on the basis of the evidence on record. Any finding of guilt based on no evidence but on communal considerations is unconstitutional. In the instant case, the trial Court has traced the socio economic as well as the communal background of the accused and has come to the conclusion that these accused have committed the crime solely because they belong to a particular community”, said the Bench.
Read the Judgment here.