In a rare act, the Madras High Court Bench here on Friday did not restrict itself with setting aside the conviction and life sentence imposed in a murder case due to the failure of the police to prove the charge beyond reasonable doubts. It went a step further and ordered retrial to ensure that mistakes committed by the prosecution do not lead to failure of justice.
Disposing of a criminal appeal filed by a mason accused of murdering two women construction labourers at Thuvakudi in Tiruchi district in 2006, a Division Bench comprising Justice S. Nagamuthu and Justice V.S. Ravi rejected the appellant’s argument that ordering retrial would amount to affording an opportunity to the prosecution to fill the lacunae in their case.
Stating that the order was being passed in the interest of justice, the judges said: “We express our pain and anguish about the way in which the case was investigated and the trial was conducted. We only record our hope that we may not have any more occasions like this to notice such kind of shortcomings, errors and mistakes in investigation as well as trial leading to failure of justice.”
The judges also expressed shock over the police having prosecuted the mason for murdering only one of the two women and closing the other case without conducting any investigation. “Under the Constitution, we have got an obligation to see that justice is done to the parties and we cannot close our eyes when miscarriage of justice is caused,” they said. The court hoped that Tiruchi Superintendent of Police S. Rajeswari would appoint a competent officer to investigate the murder of the other woman too whose decomposed body was also exhumed from Valavanthankottai Udayar Mayanam.