Gokulraj murder case: HC judges to visit Tiruchengode Arthanareeswarar Temple on January 22

Justices M.S. Ramesh and N. Anand Venkatesh also frame charges against prime witness Swathi in the s uo motu contempt proceedings initiated for having made false statements before the court

January 06, 2023 10:40 pm | Updated 10:41 pm IST - CHENNAI

Murdered youth V. Gokulraj’s mother V. Chitra and brother V. Kalaiselvan in the Madras High Court corridors. 

Murdered youth V. Gokulraj’s mother V. Chitra and brother V. Kalaiselvan in the Madras High Court corridors.  | Photo Credit: Mohamed Imranullah S

Justices M.S. Ramesh and N. Anand Venkatesh of the Madras High Court on Friday framed charges for contempt against hostile witness Swathi in the Scheduled Caste youth V. Gokulraj murder case and decided to inspect on January 22 the Tiruchengode Arthanareeswarar temple where the victim of caste-based murder was last seen with his assailants on June 23, 2015, before his body was found on a rail track the next day.

The judges told the advocates appearing for the victim’s mother V. Chitra and those representing the 10 life convicts that they could also be present during the inspection to be carried out to understand the topography of the place, the number of entrances and exits and the location of closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras.

The date of inspection was disclosed during the hearing of appeals preferred by the life convicts, including S. Yuvaraj of Maaveeran Dheeran Chinnamalai Gounder Peravai, challenging the trial court verdict, as well as the appeals preferred by Ms. Chitra to award capital punishment to them, besides punishing five others who were acquitted.

The judges also framed charges against the prime witness, Swathi, in the contempt of court proceedings initiated against her on November 30 for having made false statements, on oath, before the court. The woman had supported the prosecution case when a magistrate had recorded her statement during the course of investigation.

However, during the course of trial, she had turned hostile forcing the trial court to initiate proceedings for perjury. Subsequently, when the High Court examined her on oath on November 25, she refused to identify herself when a CCTV footage of her, seen along with the deceased youth, was played to her in the court hall.

Infuriated by her conduct, the judges warned her of the consequences of making false statements before court on oath and granted five days to think over the issue. When she was examined again on oath on November 30, she chose to stand by her earlier statement, and hence, the suo motu contempt of court proceedings were initiated.

“The journey of a trial is such that neither judge nor the police nor the public prosecutor or the defence counsel have seen the incident and in spite of the same, each one is grappling to find out the truth and to come to a conclusion as to whether the case as projected by the prosecution has been proved or not based on evidence.

“It therefore becomes imperative that the witnesses, who depose before the court, speak the truth... Making a false statement on oath in courts virtually prevents the courts from administering justice and it will be a blow to the rule of law if falsity is condoned,” the judges said and issued notice to her on the contempt proceedings.

However, when the contempt petition was taken up on Friday, the woman did not appear before the court. Her husband stated that she was in the advanced stage of pregnancy and was not in a position to travel. After asking her counsel to file a memo to that effect, the judges framed the charges against her and handed over a copy to her husband.

They also said the hearing of the criminal appeals against the trial court verdict would continue on January 20.

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