Chennai: The Madras high court has said since the Melavalavu massacre case involves the interest of persons, belonging to the marginalised section of the society and the society as a whole, where six persons belonging to Dalit community, were butchered to death, this court wants to test the government orders through which the life convicts have been released.
“It may be necessary to formulate certain guidelines, whenever the power of remission or pardon is considered in cases where the crime has an impact on a section of the society or the society as a whole. In other words, a case of this nature should not be considered in the same manner in which a life convict, who has been convicted for murder, is considered”, said a division bench comprising Justices S.Vaidyanathan and N.Anand Venkatesh while passing interim order on a writ petition filed by advocate P.Rathinam, challenging the G.Os, by which the 13 life convicts were released prematurely by the government.
As directed by the court earlier, Advocate general Vijay Narayan filed a status report.
The bench said advocate general submitted that the case of all the 13 convicts was considered strictly in accordance with G.O dated February 1, 2018. Before considering the premature release of the 13 convicts, the state government had taken into consideration the recommendation of the authority concerned and the State Level Committee, which had done a very detailed scrutiny of the antecedents, character, conduct in prison, verification of the report of the Probation Officer and also the character of the convicts while on leave. Advocate general further submitted that already three of the convicts involved in the same case were released in the year 2008, pursuant to a G.O dated September 11, 2008 and these persons were outside for the last 10 years and no law and order problem has arisen because of them till date. He further submitted that the state government followed the G.Os in letter and spirit and has applied the same for each and every convict involved in this case and also considered the recommendations of the committee and only thereafter they were considered for premature release. He will file a detailed counter in the writ petition and also produce the entire files, including the recommendation that was made by the authority concerned and the State Level Committee, the bench added.
After going through the status report, the bench said a close reading f the status report showed that the case of all the 13 life convicts, who have been released by the government, has been considered purely based on the requirements of G.O dated February 1, 2018. This court, while considering the criminal appeals filed by the accused persons, had come to a categorical conclusion that the act of the accused person was not merely to murder the deceased, but also to terrorise the entire Scheduled Caste Community who dared to stand in the Panchayat election. This court also held that the entire incident had happened only to terrorise the Dalit Community and prevent them from participating in the election and the entire attack had occurred solely because they belong to a particular community. This court further held that what the Ambalakarars could not achieve legally, has been achieved by resorting to violence and taking law into their own hands. “The above observation made by this court in the criminal appeals clearly shows that this case cannot be looked from the angle of a regular murder case and this case clearly has an impact on the persons belonging to the downtrodden section of the society at large and it also sets a precedent for all future cases of similar nature. A reading of the status report prima facie shows that this case has not been strictly scrutinized from this angle”, the bench added.
The bench said unfortunately, in this case, three persons, who were involved in the same case, were released earlier in the year 2008 and now that was being shown as a precedent for releasing the remaining 13 convicts. “A previous wrong cannot justify, perpetuating the same wrong in future, that is to say, two wrongs will not make things right. The release of three convicts did not become the subject matter of challenge earlier and therefore, it cannot become a binding precedent to justify the release of the 13 convicts”, the bench added.