All the four accused senior medical students in the Aman Kachroo ragging case were sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment by a fast track court in Dharamsala after they were held guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder for ragging a junior student Aman Kachroo, leading to his death.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Purinder Vaidya also imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 each on the students of the Rajendra Prasad Medical College and Hospital in Tanda in Kangra district of the hill State.
Ajay Verma, Navin Verma, Abhinav Verma and Mukul Sharma have been held guilty under Sections 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint), 34 (common intention) and 342 (wrongful confinement) of the Indian Penal Code.
The judge did not entertain the prosecution plea for convicting the four students of murder under Section 302 IPC for which the punishment is life term or death.
The maximum punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder is 10 years but the court awarded a four-year jail term after hearing the arguments of both sides. The judgment came at least 20 months after the Kachroo ragging incident, which triggered uproar and forced the State government to come out with a legislation making ragging a cognisable and non-bailable offence.
“We will move the High Court against the decision convicting the students under culpable homicide and not under charges of murder and reducing the quantum of punishment,” Special Public Prosecutor Jiwan Lal Sharma told journalists later.
Aman's father Rajendra Kachru said that though it was a historic decision favouring the anti-ragging campaign, he was a little disappointed with the quantum of punishment. “It's for the prosecution to decide whether to go in for an appeal in the higher court or not,” he said.
Mr. Kachroo said that if he had not fought against the bail granted to the four accused earlier this year, “I would not have seen this verdict today.”