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Penalty imposed on Murugan cannot be sustained, says Madras HC


Published on: November 14, 2019 | Updated on: November 14, 2019

Madras High Court.

Chennai: Holding that Murugan alias Sriharan, serving life sentence in Vellore prison for his involvement in Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, is entitled to privilege enjoyed by him, the Madras high court has said the present penalty (not to have any interview with any one including his wife Nalini and family members or friends for a period of 90 days) for three months cannot be sustained in the eye of law.

A division bench comprising Justices M.M.Sundresh and RMT.Teekaa Raman passed the order on a petition filed by M.Thenmozhi, which sought to produce her uncle Murugan before the court and provide medical treatment to him.

Concurring with the submission of M. Radhakrishnan, counsel for the petitioner, the bench said it was of the view that without conducting inquiry under Rule 304 of Tamil Nadu Prison Rules, an order under Rule 302 cannot be passed. Admittedly, in the case on hand, no inquiry has been conducted and the convict (Murugan) after all wants to meet his wife, who was also under imprisonment. Therefore, looking from any perspective, it was of the view that the present penalty for three months cannot be sustained in the eye of law. Accordingly, it was inclined to hold that the convict (murugan) was entitled to privilege enjoyed by him, the bench added.

The bench said on the second issue, it was in agreement with the submissions of the prosecution that the decision to transfer him to another block has been made for security reason and for over all better administration. It was not as if he was alone in the block as there were 13 other prisoners in the block. The cell also has basic amenities. In such view of the matter, it was not inclined to interfere with the said decision.

However, depending upon the future conduct and behaviour of the convict (Murugan), the authorities shall review the decision after four months in accordance with law.

The statement made by the counsel for the petitioner that he would advice the convict (Murugan) not to undergo hunger strike was recorded and in view of the same, request for medical treatment becomes infructuous, the bench added.