After obtaining suspension of sentence, two life convicts failed to conduct criminal appeals

MADURAI: The Madras High Court Bench here has directed its Registry to issue non-bailable arrest warrants against two life convicts who obtained suspension of their sentence as early as in 2005 and 2006 but failed to conduct their criminal appeals for more than four years.

Passing interim orders in the criminal appeals, Justices P. Murgesen and T. Mathivanan ordered the police to execute the warrants on or before March 8.

The judicial magistrates concerned were also directed to remand the life convicts to judicial custody if they came forward to surrender.

“A life convict should not be allowed to take the order of this court, suspending the sentence, as a shield to veil himself from the appeal proceedings. But such a trend seems to have surfaced now, which, if not checked would undoubtedly defeat the cause of justice,” the judges said.

Recall orders of suspension of sentence

They went on to state that the High Court could suo motu proceed to recall orders of suspension of sentence in situations where the criminal appeals could not be disposed of for years together either because of non-cooperation of the appellants or incessant absence of their counsel on record.

‘Final hearing'

In the present cases, neither the appellants, who were convicted by the trial courts in 2003 in two different murder cases at Tuticorin and Theni, nor their counsel appeared before the Bench to argue the criminal appeals despite listing the matter under the caption ‘final hearing' on many occasions.

“Hence, it is absolutely inevitable to invoke Section 439 (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure which states that a High Court or Court of Session may direct that any person who has been released on bail under this Chapter be arrested and commit him to custody,” the judges added.