27 April 2014
The Bench was allowing appeals by the accused, who challenged the sentences imposed on them in 2007 by a Special Court, which was set up in Tsundur, a village in Guntur district.
In August 1991, eight Dalits were killed allegedly by persons from non-Dalit farming communities. The Special Court had examined 71 witnesses and convicted 21 persons of life imprisonment and 35 persons were awarded jail sentence of one year.
The Bench, comprising Justices L. Narasimha Reddy and M.S. Jaiswal, held that the prosecution failed to prove the exact time of death, place of occurrence and the identity of attackers. It said trial in a criminal case was not something like a mathematical exercise where common minimum factors from various numerical could be taken to be put outside a bracket.
The Bench found the version of a witness shaky but parts of evidence given by such witnesses became the basis for awarding punishment. The court found that no complaint regarding the attacks and killings was submitted by anyone. The Bench said the trial court itself had suggested that there were serious procedural lapses in the prosecution version.
The Bench made it clear that the Superintendent of Police, Guntur rural, was to ensure that no celebrations or protests in Tsundur and Modukur should take place for at least three months. It said eight innocents from Dalit community lost their lives and their families completely ruined.
The court said the help extended by the government could not remove the agony of the family members of the deceased. Every endeavour must be made by persons and organisations to inculcate human values and mutual respect.
[Courtesy: The Hindu, April 22, 2014]