A TADA court here on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment a naxalite in a case relating to the blasting of a railway bridge between Dharmapuri and Palacode stations in October 1992.

In his nearly 125-page judgment, K. Dakshinamoorthy, Judge of the Designated Court-II, TADA, held Sundaramoorthy guilty under the TADA Act, IPC, Explosive Substances Act and the Railways Act, and sentenced him to four life imprisonment terms, seven years' rigorous imprisonment and fines.

The Judge said the substantive sentence of imprisonment would run concurrently. The period of sentence already undergone would be set off.

He observed that imposition of sentence without considering its effect on the social order in many cases may be in reality a futile exercise.

“The social impact of the crime where it relates to offences against women, dacoity, kidnapping, misappropriation of public money, treason and other offences involving moral turpitude or moral delinquency, which have great impact on social order, in public interest can't be lost sight of and per se require exemplary treatment.”

The prosecution case was that the accused, along with the absconding accused Velu and convicted accused Sisubalan, conspired to commit the illegal act to strike terror and seek support for the demand for secession of Tamil Nadu from the Indian Union.

Mr. Dakshinamoorthy said any liberal attitude by imposing meagre sentences or taking a too sympathetic view merely on account of lapse of time in respect of such offences would be counter productive in the long run and against societal interests, which needed to be cared for and strengthened by a string of deterrence inbuilt in the sentencing system.

The court would be failing in its duty if appropriate punishment was not awarded for the crime. The punishment awarded should not be irrelevant but should conform to and be consistent with the atrocity and brutality with which the crime had been perpetrated, its enormity warranting public abhorrence.

After the judgment was pronounced, counsel for accused, raising his voice, sought to know from the Judge as to how life imprisonment could be given to the accused.

He said a co-accused in the case, Sisubalan, was sentenced to only five years' imprisonment in 2003. As the Judge was retiring to his chamber after pronouncing the verdict, counsel kept shouting.