Custody death: Madras HC wants trial over in three months

The petitioner had sought a transfer of the trial of the case from Additional District and Sessions Court I in Thoothukudi to some other court.
Justice B Pugalendhi was hearing a petition filed by a police inspector M Somasundaram, accused in the custodial death of one Vincent, who died on September 18, 1999
Justice B Pugalendhi was hearing a petition filed by a police inspector M Somasundaram, accused in the custodial death of one Vincent, who died on September 18, 1999 (File Photo)

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court observed that if the courts could not deliver justice to the victim even after 25 years in a custodial death case, it would be a disgrace to the institution and the entire justice delivery system.

Justice B Pugalendhi was hearing a petition filed by a police inspector M Somasundaram, accused in the custodial death of one Vincent, who died on September 18, 1999, when Somasundaram was working as sub-inspector at the Thalamuthu Nagar police station in Thoothukudi. The petitioner had sought a transfer of the trial of the case from Additional District and Sessions Court I in Thoothukudi to some other court.

The senior counsel appearing for Somasundaram submitted that the presiding officer (PO) of the trial court assumed office only in June 2024. When the case was listed before him on June 12, he posted the case for trial on June 15 (within three days).

On June 15, when the case was taken up for hearing, the public prosecutor informed the court that he could not contact the complainant (Revenue Divisional Officer) as he does not have any records with him, as the case was taken into cognizance based on a private complaint preferred by the RDO. Therefore, the public prosecutor sought time. However, the presiding officer orally stated that there was no need to get any instructions.

Dismissing Somasundaram’s plea, the court said, “To avoid any further delay, this court, suo-motu, appoints advocate TRS Ramamoorthy, former director of prosecution, as a special public prosecutor to assist the public prosecutor in this case.”

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