Madras HC commutes death sentence to life in Kannagi-Murugesan honour killing case

The Madras High Court on Wednesday commuted the death sentence imposed by a trial court on one of the 13 convicts in the 2003 Kannagi-Murugesan honour killing case.

Justices A.A. Nakkiran and P.N. Prakash commuted the death sentence awarded to D. Maruthupandian, brother of Kannagi while answering a reference from the trial court.

The judges also allowed the appeals preferred by 2 of the 12 other convicts and acquitted them of all charges. The appeal of one more convict was partly allowed with respect to certain offences.

The conviction and life sentence of nine other convicts including the victim Kannagi’s father, C. Duraiswami, were confirmed and their appeals were dismissed.

Kannagi of the Vanniyar community, a most backward community in Tamil Nadu, had fallen in love with Murugesan, a Scheduled Caste boy when they were studying at Annamalai university. They got married secretly and registered their marriage in Cuddalore on May 5, 2003.

Kannagi’s family became violent on hearing about the marriage, and the prosecution said that poison was “forced into the mouth of the couple at a cremation ground after they were forcibly taken there.” The incident occurred on July 8, 2003, and their bodies were burnt at the crematorium to make it appear as a case of suicide.

The Central Bureau of Investigation took up the case on a complaint filed by Murugesan’s father after a botched-up investigation by the local police.

A Cuddalore special court had convicted 13 accused and awarded capital punishment to Kannagi’s brother, Maruthupandian. The remaining were sentenced to life imprisonment.




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