Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: A petition, seeking enhancement of punishment to the 25 persons sentenced for less grave offences in the Dharmapuri bus burning case, has been filed in the Madras High Court.

Justice K.N. Basha, before whom the petition filed by Kesavachandran, father of a victim, Hemalatha, came up for hearing, referred the matter to a Division Bench, which is already seized of the appeals and revision petitions against the sessions court order.

On February 16, the First Additional Sessions Court in Salem had found 28 persons guilty of committing offences of varying degrees. While three of them were awarded capital punishment, 25 others were each awarded a total of seven years rigorous imprisonment. However, the maximum punishment for any single count of offence did not exceed two years.

Assailing the order, Mr. Kesavachandran said the Tamil Nadu Public Properties (Prevention of Damage and Destruction) Act provided for a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, besides fine. However, the trial court chose to impose a minimum sentence on the accused and did not impose any fine at all though the accused had damaged public properties in addition to causing the death of three innocent students.

He prayed for enhancement of the sentence and imposition of fine on the 25 persons.