Supreme Court Dismisses Plea Of Accused In Ranjith Sreenivasan Murder Case Against Transfer Of Trial
The Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by the accused in the Ranjith Sreenivasan murder case against the Judgment of the Kerala High Court transferring the trial in the case from the Alappuzha Court to the Mavelikkara Court instead of the Ernakulam Court as sought by them.
The Bench of Justice A.S. Bopanna and Justice P.S. Narasimha today refused to interfere with the decision of the Kerala High Court. The Court has, however, granted liberty to the accused to approach the High Court again, if needed.
Senior Advocate R Basant appeared for the appellants, the accused Nos. 1 to 15 in the case. Senior Advocate Menaka Guruswamy and Senior Advocate L Narasimha Reddy along with Advocate Nachiketa Joshi appeared for the mother of the deceased Renjith Sreenivasan.
When the Supreme Court was not inclined to interfere with the decision of the High Court to transfer the trial to the Mavelikkara Court, Senior Advocate Basant pleaded that the order of the High Court be quashed so the trial continues at the Alappuzha Court, where the trial would have otherwise taken place.
However, the Bench was not inclined to accede to that request since it was on the plea of the accused that the case was transferred out of Alappuzha Court after they contended that the deceased was an Advocate practicing in that Court and the Bar in that Court had refused to represent the accused.
The accused had approached the Kerala High Court seeking that the trial be transferred to Ernakulam Court. The High Court had in September refused to transfer the case to Ernakulam, accepting the contention of the mother of the deceased that the safety of the witnesses is a concern if they are required to travel to Ernakulam from Alappuzha. "The witnesses should be allowed to depose about the case in an atmosphere conducive for opening up their minds without any fear of being harassed or attacked", the High Court had held.
The High Court had rejected the contention of the accused that even in Mavelikkara Court, the Advocates refused to cooperate with the accused, stating that the accused had not produced any material to support their claim.
"It is submitted that witnesses will have a serious threat to life, while travelling within the state of Kerala. The mother of the deceased (material witness) is a senior citizen, 75 years of age, and it will be cumbersome for her to travel on each date", the mother of the deceased submitted before the Supreme Court.
She also contended that "This SLP is nothing but an attempt to weaken the case of the prosecution by creating a fear psychosis in the minds of the respondent no. 3 (mother) and the family of the deceased. It is not practical to transfer the case outside the District of Alappuzha".
Advocate Ranjith Sreenivasan, an active member of the Alleppey Bar Association and the State Secretary of the OBC Morcha of Bharatiya Janata Party, Kerala state was hacked to death inside his house in December 19, 2021, in front of his mother, wife and daughter, allegedly by SDPI/PFI workers.
The Alleppey Bar Association of the Alappuzha District had abstained from Court for a day and had decided that no member of the Bar will appear for the accused
The Bar Council of Kerala had passed a resolution expressing anguish over the brutal killing of Advocate Ranjith Sreenivasan. In addition to various Bar Councils and State Bar Associations across the country condemning the killing and seeking action against the accused, the Bar Council of India had resolved to write to the Government of India through the Home Ministry demanding that the matter be investigated by a Central Agency like NIA or CBI.