Kannagi-Murugesan Honour Killing Case: Madras High Court Commutes Death Sentence Of Brother, Acquits Two

Upasana Sajeev

8 Jun 2022 11:00 AM GMT

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  • Kannagi-Murugesan Honour Killing Case: Madras High Court Commutes Death Sentence Of Brother, Acquits Two

    The Madras High Court on Wednesday commuted the death sentence of Marudupandian to life imprisonment in the Kannagi-Murugesan Honour Killing case. Marudupandian is Kannagi's brother.The Court also confirmed the life sentence of others including Kannagi's father Duraisamy. Further, two convicts were acquitted of the offence.Justice PN Prakash and Justice AA Nakkiran passed the orders on...

    The Madras High Court on Wednesday commuted the death sentence of Marudupandian to life imprisonment in the Kannagi-Murugesan Honour Killing case. Marudupandian is Kannagi's brother.

    The Court also confirmed the life sentence of others including Kannagi's father Duraisamy. Further, two convicts were acquitted of the offence.

    Justice PN Prakash and Justice AA Nakkiran passed the orders on a reference made by the Special Court, Cuddalore. The convicts had also appealed against the order of the special court.

    "There are no castes, dear child. Identifying persons on the basis of upper caste and lower caste is a sin." the court quoted these words of Mahakavi Subramanya Bharathiyar, and expressed deep anguish over the fact that even after almost a century of his demise, these lines of the Mahakavi seem to remain only in the primary school textbooks and nowhere else. The court also suggested common burial for Dalits and non Dalits in the countryside as a means of annihilation of caste in the country.

    "If all the political parties in this country were to arrive at a consensus and ensure that there is a common cremation/burial ground for non-Dalits and Dalits in the countryside, it would be a baby step for the annihilation of castes in this country. Whether they would risk giving up their vote banks for this cause, is a million dollar question."
    The court also suggested the trial Courts to record in the preamble portion of the deposition of a witness, the names and ranks of the accused present in the Court and also the names and ranks of those absent. This suggestion was made in light of the difficulty experienced by the court for determining the which all accused were granted exemption from appearance by the trial court when a witness was examined. The Registry was directed to issue a circular to all the trial Courts in this regard after getting approval from the Chief Justice. 
    Background
    The case involved the brutal murder of an inter-caste couple S Murugesan and D Kannagi who were poisoned by the latter's family members. Murugesan was a graduate in Chemical engineering and belonged to the Dalit Community. Kannagi was a commerce graduate and belonged to the Vanniyar community. The couple were secretly married on May 5, 2003.
    When Kannagi's family came to know of the marriage, they apprehended the couple on July 7, 2003, just as they were about to leave town and made the couple drink poison which resulted in their death. Their bodies were later burned.
    The murder of the couple was regarded as one of the first case of "Honour Killing" in the State of Tamil Nadu. The investigation of the case was handed over to the CBI after a botched up police investigation.
    Last year, in September, a Special Court for SC/ST offences had awarded death sentence to Marudupandian Kannagi's brother,  and sentenced 12 others including her father to life imprisonment. The Court had also found two officers guilty for not registering a complaint and for intentionally aiding the convicts. The police officers were thus found guilty under the SC/ST Act.
    Special Judge Uttamarasa had described the double murder as "brutal and against humanity". The judge added that the judgement was a warning to those who practised caste-based hatred.

    Case Title: Deputy Commissioner of Police v. C Duraisamy

    Case No: Referred Trial (RT) No. 4 of 2021

    Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Mad) 243

    Counsel for Complainant in RT: Mr. K. Srinivasan Special Public Prosecutor for CBI Cases

    Counsel for Respondent in RT: Mr.V. Gopinath, Sr. Counsel for Mr. S.Sasikumar

    Counsel for Appellants in connected criminal appeals: Mr.V. Gopinath, Sr. Counsel for Mr. S.Sasikumar, Mr. V. Karthic, Sr. Counsel for Mr. Adithya Varadarajan, Mr.S.Prabakaran, Sr. Counsel Mr. M.R. Jothimanian, Mr. V. Gopinath, Sr. Counsel for Mr. K. Balu, Mr.S.Ashok Kumar, Sr.Counsel for Mr. K. Balu, Mr.S.Ashok Kumar, Sr.Counsel for Mr. M.R. Jothimanian, Mr.S.Prabakaran, Sr. Counsel Mr. M.R. Jothimanian, Mr. S. Doraisamy, Mr. S. Karthikeyan

    Counsel for Respondent in all connected criminal appeals: Dr. V. Suresh


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