Chennai

Magistrate, jail official asked to explain action

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HC calls for rearresting accused

The Madras High Court on Thursday summoned a Metropolitan Magistrate and a jail superintendent seeking their explanation for the release of two private law college students, accused of causing the death of a woman lawyer in an accident, without waiting for the orders of the High Court staying the bail granted to them by the Principal District and Sessions Court here.

A Division Bench of Justices S. Vaidyanathan and P.T. Asha ordered that the Magistrate as well as the superintendent be present in the court on Friday. The order was passed on a contempt of court petition filed by the accident victim Sunanda Suren’s husband T.R.G. Surender Nair. The Bench also directed the police to re-arrest the two college students forthwith.

Explaining the case in detail, the petitioner’s counsel S. Haja Mohideen Gisthi told the court that the woman advocate was knocked down from her two-wheeler by a speeding car at Chetpet traffic signal on October 16. It was a case of hit-and-run and there was a reasonable apprehension of the accused having been under the influence of alcohol at the relevant time.

‘Influential people’

The lawyer succumbed to the injuries on October 23. In the meantime, the police allegedly attempted to close the case as an accidental fall from the two-wheeler. But they were forced to collect CCTV footage from a nearby apartment to find out the identity of the accused who turned out to be influential people.

After the victim’s death, the case was altered to Section 304 ii (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC and the students were arrested. “The arguments on their bail petitions got over at around 3.30 p.m. on December 21 but the Principal District and Sessions Judge passed an order granting bail at 9:15 p.m.,” the counsel claimed.

Thereafter, the petitioner moved an urgent application for cancellation of the bail before the High Court during the Christmas vacation and Justice Krishnan Ramasamy held a special sitting in his chamber at 4 p.m. on Monday to hear the case. After a detailed hearing, the judge stayed the Sessions Court order granting bail at 4.45 p.m.

In the meantime, bail bonds were prepared for the release of one of the two accused. Therefore, information was passed on to the Magistrate through a junior counsel that the High Court had stayed the bail order. “However, the Magistrate refused to wait for production of a certified copy of the order and released the accused from Saidapet prison,” Mr. Gisthi said.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 10:46:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/magistrate-jail-official-asked-to-explain-action/article25844795.ece

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