Friday, January 28, 2011

SC stays death for 3 in TN bus burning case

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the execution of three AIADMK activists condemned to death for burning a university bus killing three girls in Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri town on February 2, 2000. 
   The three have sought review of their conviction and sentence, a plea which is heard by judges in chamber without the presence of lawyers.
   During its pendency, they moved a writ petition for open court hearing of the review plea on the ground that since death penalty cases fall in the “rarest of rare” category, the court should make an exception to its chamber hearing procedure.
   A Bench comprising Justices Sudarshan Reddy and S S Nijjar stayed the execution of death penalties against the three: Nedu aka Nedunchezian, Madhu aka Ravichandran and C Muniappan.
   Enraged by the conviction of their leader J Jayalalithaa in the Pleasant Stay Hotel case, the activists while indulging in general arson sprinkled petrol on the bus carrying the girl students and set it on fire.
   Kokilavani, Hemalatha and Gayatri could not escape from the burning bus and were charred to death.
   Twenty others sustained severe burn injuries in the incident. No one had come to their rescue. 

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