They were awarded life term by special court

Kochi: The State government has filed an appeal in the Kerala High Court seeking death sentence for 14 persons who were sentenced to life by the Kozhikode Special Additional Sessions Court (Marad cases) in the Marad massacre case.

In its appeal, the State government said that these persons were involved in more than one murder case. Appeal had also been filed against the special court verdict acquitting 73 others in the case.

The special court awarded life imprisonment to 62 persons in the case that took place in May 2003 on Marad beach near Kozhikode. Nine persons were killed in the communal violence.

As many as 139 persons were arraigned as accused. While 13 were charged with killing of two persons, one was charged with three murders. The appeal said that the prosecution had adduced cogent and convincing evidence before the special judge against the accused. The evidence had also been substantiated.

The court should not have awarded lesser punishment to the 14 accused who were involved in murdering more than one person.

The government pleaded that considering the gravity of the offence under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and its impact on society, the sentence awarded to these persons were inappropriate.

Investigation team

A Bench comprising Chief Justice S.R. Bannurmath and Justice Kurian Joseph on Monday admitted a writ petition seeking a directive to the State government to provide an investigation team to the Ombudsman for local bodies.

In his petition, D.B. Binu, general secretary of the Human Rights Defence Forum, pointed out that the Kerala Panchayat Raj Act empowered the Ombudsman to make inquiry or investigation into the complaints of maladministration, corruption and other charges.

Order upheld

Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan on Monday upheld the State Election Commission’s order disqualifying Ajitha Suresh and V.V. Varghese, chairperson and deputy chairperson of the Adoor Municipality, from continuing as councillors on the ground of defection.