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HC confirms lifers for 2 trade union leaders

The Madras High Court upheld the life sentence awarded by a trial court to two trade union leaders on charges of murdering vice-president of Pricol Limited in Coimbatore in 2009. However, the division bench, comprising Justices S. Nagamuthu and N. Authinathan, acquitted few others from all charges. The matter pertains to unrest in Pricol Limited, Periyanaickenpalayam, Coimbatore on September 21, 2009. During the strife, Roy J George, vice-president, HR department was fatally attacked by a few workmen. The company is involved in manufacturing accessories for two-wheelers including switches, gauges, meters and valves.

The police registered a case for various offences under the IPC, including Sec. 302 (murder) and Prevention of Damages to Public Properties Act. On December 3, 2015, the Sessions Court for Exclusive Trial of Bomb Blast Cases, Coimbatore had sentenced nine persons to imprisonment for life, and acquitted another 17 persons of all charges. Condemning the approach of defence counsel while cross-examining the witnesses in the trial court, the bench said gone are the days when the defence counsel would take trial proceedings so seriously and cross examine the witnesses on the same day and avoid unnecessary questions by extending fullest co-operation to the court for trial and disposal of the cases.

The bench said the case on hand is a classic illustration as to how there is a complete change in the attitude of some of the counsel and as to how they take it as a platform to harass the witnesses. The bench said, "We are really anguished by going through the cross-examination of the witnesses in this case. We do not understand as to how the judge was a silent spectator without making any intervention when the witnesses were harassed like anything. The expression of our anguish in this judgment is only to convey our hope to all concerned that the justice delivery system cannot be taken for a ride by anyone. The time-tested system will withstand all such attempts in the war waged against the system by unscrupulous people."