14 Dec, 2007, 1959 hrs IST, PTI
MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on friday confirmed the eight consecutive life imprisonments on 17 persons for murdering eight close relatives, including five women and an infant, over a family feud in February 1994 in Ramanathapuram District.
Holding that the act was "diabolic of most superlative cruel execution," a Division Bench comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice A.Nagamuthu dismissed the appeals against the Ramanathapuram District Sessions Court order in 2006.
They described the murder as "Brutalism amplified by grotesque and revolting manner" and also confirmed the 10 years rigorous imprisonment awarded to the accused for attempt to murder, rioting etc.
The Bench said "The manner in which the crime had been executed would go into the history of the state (as the worst). Hapless women had been murdered."
They had mercilessly killed a six-month old baby. The occurrence was more heartrending as the deceased were closely related to the accused and were in distress after attending the funeral of one of their relative.
Referring to the arguement of the counsel for the accused that as the witnesses were inimical, their evidences needed close scrutiny, the Judges said. "It is only the accused who needed to pass the test of close scrutiny."
When eight murders had taken place in a brutal manner, contradictions in respect of witnesses were quite natural. "It is impossible for witnesses to remember each and every detail. The FIR had been registered promptly," the Judges said.
As the accused did not possess basic humaneness, leniency to them would be misplaced sympathy."We are of the firm view that sentences of life imprisonment imposed on each count and RI should be consecutively undergone," they held.