'Political Violence Corrodes Roots Of Democratic Principles': Kerala HC Confirms Convictions In RMP Leader TP Chandrashekaran's Murder Case

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20 Feb 2024 5:30 AM GMT

  • Political Violence Corrodes Roots Of Democratic Principles: Kerala HC Confirms Convictions In RMP Leader TP Chandrashekarans Murder Case

    The Kerala High Court confirmed the conviction of the accused in the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T P Chandranshekaran over political rivalry. The proemial passage of the judgment begins by quoting Amartya Sen, “Democracy thrives on the peaceful exchange of ideas, not the violent imposition of beliefs. Political violence is the poison that corrodes the roots of...

    The Kerala High Court confirmed the conviction of the accused in the murder of Revolutionary Marxist Party (RMP) leader T P Chandranshekaran over political rivalry. The proemial passage of the judgment begins by quoting Amartya Sen, “Democracy thrives on the peaceful exchange of ideas, not the violent imposition of beliefs. Political violence is the poison that corrodes the roots of democratic principles.”

    The Division Bench comprising Justice A.K.Jayasankaran Nambiar and Justice Kauser Edappagath confirmed and upheld the conviction of 10 persons for the murder of T P Chandrashekaran. It also convicted 6 persons under Section 120 B IPC for the conspiracy to murder. The Court also set aside the acquittal of two persons (A10- K K Krishnan, A12-Geothi Babu) and convicted them under Section 120 B read with Section 302 IPC. Further, it confirmed the acquittal of all others as held by the Trial Court. 


    T P Chandranshekaran, a member of CPI (M) party and founder of RMP was murdered on May 04, 2012, over political rivalry by a group of assassins. It was alleged that the murder was committed since T P Chandrashekaran who was once an active member and local leader of the CPI (M), fell out with the party and formed RMP which resulted in the loss of CPI (M) from the Vadakara constituency in the Lok Sabha elections, 2009.

    The prosecution case was that the accused hit him with a car and when he fell on the road from his motorcycle, he was hacked to death by stabbing him with swords. Other accused persons allegedly used a country bomb to keep away the witnesses and others were accused of assisting, executing the murder, and destroying the evidence.

    The final report was filed against 73 accused and charges were framed against 72 accused. The Special Additional Sessions Court (Marad Cases), Kozhikode convicted 11 accused persons (A1-A7, A8, A11, A13, A18) to life imprisonment under Section 302 (punishment for murder) read with Section 149 (unlawful assembly) of IPC. It also convicted A 31 for three years imprisonment under Section 201 IPC (causing disappearance of evidence and giving false information). The Trial Court had acquitted A10 ( K K Krishnan), A12 (Geothi Babu) and A14 (P Mohanan).


    Three categories of appeals were filed before the High Court. 

    Seven appeals were filed by the convicted persons for setting aside their conviction and sentence.

    Two appeals were by the state, one, seeking a death sentence to A1-A7, A8, A11, A13, A18 and maximum punishment for A31 for destroying evidence. Another appeal was filed by the state seeking the conviction of the remaining twenty-four acquitted persons.

    An appeal was also filed by K K Rema, the wife of deceased T P Chandrashekaran seeking conviction of the acquitted accused and for enhanced punishment for the convicted accused.

    Court Findings

    The Court found that the state government had issued a second government order which ratified an earlier decision of the state government to prefer the appeals. Thus, it stated that the appeals filed by the state government were maintainable.

    It was stated that since a conspiracy was hatched in secrecy, it may be hard to prove with direct evidence. Court held that the prosecution could not be expected to lead evidence of such character, which is almost impossible to be led, or at any rate, extremely difficult to be led.

    It stated that therefore prosecution would rely upon circumstantial evidence also and would require the Court to enquire as to whether persons came together with some kind of physical manifestation of agreement in the pursuit of an unlawful object, actionable wrong. 'The evidence as to transmission of thoughts sharing the unlawful design may be sufficient', stated the Court. It stated that circumstances relied upon should be prior in point of time to the actual commission of the crime. 

    The Court found that there was animosity between T P Chandrashekaran and the members of CPI (M) after the formation of RMP. It stated that the threatening public speech given by A10 against T P Chandrashekaran showed motive and incited the other accused. It stated that intelligence reports were stating that there were threats to T P Chandrashekaran's life.

    The court took note of the phone call records between the various accused persons since May 2012 to their involvement in the conspiracy to commit the murder. It observed that some witnesses saw the accused persons loading something like a sword in an Innova car on the day of the murder. It thus stated that there was direct and circumstantial evidence that A1-A8, A10-A13 conspired to murder T P Chandrashekaran through physical meetings and telephone calls, thus proving the ingredients of Section 302 read with Section 120B IPC.

    The Court stated that there was direct and circumstantial evidence against the accused for the commission of murder such as witness statements, oral evidence, recovery of Innova vehicle and swords, medical evidence, forensic evidence from the use of explosives, scientific evidence using blood and hair samples, electronic evidence from call data records etc.

    It stated there was no delay in lodging the FIR and that there was no delay in forwarding it to the Magistrate. It also stated delay of the eye witness in disclosing the incidents and giving testimony to the police due to fear cannot be seen as unrealistic since they were residing in a neighbourhood where political rivalry takes violent forms.

    It also stated that the political affiliation of witnesses could not be taken as a ground to reject their evidence in a case of political murder. “The political affiliation of the witness alone could not have weighed with the court while appreciating his evidence; it should have viewed the evidence holistically to see whether it was truthful”, stated the Court.

    On analysis of all the evidence adduced, the Court agreed with the findings of the trial court against Accused 1-7 since their unlawful assembly, armed with deadly weapons, was with the common object of murdering T.P. Chandrasekharan. Hence their guilt variously under Sections 143, 147, 148 and 302 read with 149 of IPC as well Sections 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act, 1908, as charged against them, stands established," it concluded.

    It was observed that the Trial Court had only convicted A18 and A 31 for abetment to murder, harbouring of the main accused, concealing the design to commit the offence, destruction of evidence, and forgery.

    The other accused were admittedly acquitted by the Trial Court against which both the State and K K Rema had preferred appeals.

    On appeal preferred by A31, the Court found him guilty under Section 201 IPC for concealment of swords in a well, giving misleading information regarding an injury at the hospital to help another accused.

    On appeals preferred by the State and K K Rema regarding the acquittal of other accused, the Court noted that there was no substantial evidence brought before it to reverse the finding of the Trial Court against their acquittal.

    Conviction And Sentencing

    On upholding the conviction, it stated that the convicted accused would be produced before the Court on February 26, 2024, at 10.15 am for a hearing on the sentence.

    The Court has sought reports from probation officers, jail superintendents, and psychological and psychiatric evaluation reports of the convicted accused for considering the plea of enhancement of their sentence.

    [Update: The Court has modified the judgment and upheld the conviction of two more persons (Accused 18- Rafeek and Accused 31-Pradeepan M K @Lambu) in the T P Chandrashekaran murder case].

    Counsel for the accused: Senior Advocates B Raman Pillai, P Vijayabhanu, assisted by Advocates Gilbert George Correya, K Viswan, K M Ramadas, D Arun Bose

    Counsel for K K Rema (wife of deceased): Advocate S Rajeev

    Counsel for the State: Special Public Prosecutor P Kumarankutty, Assistant Special Public Prosecutor Saphal K

    Citation: 2024 LiveLaw (Ker) 121

    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

    Click Here To Read/Download The Judgment

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