Chennai: The Madras High Court has upheld the judgment by a lower court here convicting seven policemen and a doctor in a case of custodial death reported in Puducherry in December 1993.
The trial court in 2002 had sentenced three policemen to seven years rigorous imprisonment (RI) and three others along with the doctor to one year RI.
Another policeman had died during the trial while three other policemen were acquitted.
Upholding the conviction, Justice M V Muralidharan observed that the public has lost faith in the police and had to seek help from the court for redress of grievances.
The notion that the police is a friend of the public remains only on paper, in reality, it is not so, the judge said.
When an ordinary citizen goes to the police station to lodge a complaint, the personnel there should receive it and inquire into it in a manner known to the law without being influenced by any political, monetary or other sources, only then would people respect and trust the police, he said.
The judge made these observations in a matter related to the death of Chandrasekar who was brought to Odiansalai Police Station in Puducherry on December 29, 1993, for questioning and was allegedly beaten to death.
The lower court had sentenced the doctor who conducted the first post-mortem examination on the body along with the guilty policemen.
However, the police personnel and the doctor had filed an appeal in the high court challenging the judgment.
Dismissing their plea, Justice Muralidharan said, "This is a case of custodial death and it is seen from the records that the discrepancies found between the first and the second post-mortem reports... are the basis for the prosecution case to make it fit for consideration.""There cannot be much difference between the two reports unless manipulation is made in any one of them," he noted.
"Moreover, the discussion of the learned trial judge in placing reliance upon the evidence of prosecution witnesses cannot be shattered in any way. At the same time, this court is unable to find reasons to disbelieve the case of the prosecution," he said further.