Chennai:The Madras high court has dismissed a batch of petitions from 16 convicted persons, which sought to declare as void, the order of a trial court, convicting and sentencing them, on the ground that the judgments were written in English.
A division bench comprising Justices R. Sudhakar and P.N. Prakash dismissed the Habeas corpus petitions from Suganya and 15 others, who were convicted and sentenced to various terms including life in three distinct cases including a murder case by the I Additional District and Sessions Court, Tiruvallur on December 21, 2015.
“We cannot hold that, just because the judicial officer has translated her thought process in English and written the judgement, her entire judgement is void and the detention of the prisoners is illegal”, the bench added.
The bench said at the outset, it brought to the notice of the counsel for the petitioners that the HCPs cannot be maintained, because the prisoners were detained pursuant to an order of conviction and sentence by a court of competent jurisdiction, which can be challenged only by way of a regular appeal under section 374 Cr.P.C.
The counsel submitted that when the judgements had been delivered in English language which was not known to the accused, the same were ab initio void and therefore, the further detention of the prisoners pursuant to such a judgement was illegal, on account of which these HCPs were maintainable.
“We are unable to persuade ourselves to concur with this submission. We find that the entire trial has been conducted in Tamil language and the accused were questioned under section 235 (2) Cr.P.C on the question of sentence and their answer (refused to answer) has also been recorded as it is by the trial judge”, the bench added.
The bench said when the judge announced pronouncement of the judgement, the counsel have intervened and they had requested the judge to postpone the judgement on various grounds. Therefore, it cannot be stated that the accused were quite unaware.
“In fact, we find that the accused have been putting spokes and preventing the judge from proceeding with the pronouncement of the judgement”, the bench added....