Conviction should be only on legal grounds: Madras HC

Condemning the attitude of some trial courts to convict a person not strictly on legal grounds but on moral grounds, Madras High Court bench on Tuesday set aside the conviction of an appeallant who was sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment for cheating a woman by not marrying her after falling in love with her thus abetting her to commit suicide.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 30, 2014, 22:22 PM IST

Madurai: Condemning the attitude of some trial courts to convict a person not strictly on legal grounds but on moral grounds, Madras High Court bench on Tuesday set aside the conviction of an appeallant who was sentenced to 10 years rigorous imprisonment for cheating a woman by not marrying her after falling in love with her thus abetting her to commit suicide.

Justice PR Sivakumar, allowing the petition filed by Suresh, who was convicted by Tiruchirappalli district Mahila Court said "Convicting a person on the avowed moral grounds shall not be expected from the Judges in garbs. The Judges are expected to act strictly on merit in accordance with principles and provisions of law."

The Judge said had the court approached the problem with an open mind and in an unbiased manner it would have found the impropability of the prosecution case.

The deceased Muthukannu and her relatives had coerced the appellant to enter into marital contract. But the appeallant had refused as he was already married and Hindu law prohibited second marriage.

The judge said the trial court had been carried away by the prosecution case, adding, "merely having a love affair without crossing Lakshman rekha shall not amount to cheating".

There was no evidence to show that Suresh had cheated the girl. It was only Muthukannu's relatives who had tried to force him to marry her even as he was living with his wife.

Even in the worst case of the deceased, if the appeallant had promised and then gone back on promise, it could be termed as an act of abetment of committing suicide, the judge said allowing the appeal.