HC strikes down lower court order to take Swathi murder suspect to crime scene

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Madras High Court on Thursday struck down a lower court’s order to take Ram Kumar, main accused in the 24 June murder of a IT professional, to the crime scene and directed prison officials to make arrangements in jail to take his photographs, videographs and other measurements to enable them to compare it with video footage already with the police.

Ram Kumar allegedly murdered 24-year-old Swathi in broad daylight on 24 June at Nungambakkam Railway Station in Chennai and later went absconding.

Setting aside the order of the 14th Metropolitan Magistrate at Egmore here, Justice P N Prakash directed the the prison authorities to provide necessary facilities for the
Investigation Officer in the case to take videograph, photographs and other measurements of Ram Kumar with the help of the technical officer in the police photo section, not below the rank of sub inspector.

He further directed superintendent of prisons, Puzhal, where Ram Kumar is lodged, to allow him give his measurements, photographs and videographs.

The court directed the IO to produce the material before the metropolitan magistrate, for sending the same to forensic experts for their opinion and report.

The court said that in its considered opinion, it was not necessary to take Ram Kumar anywhere near the place of occurrence for making him reenact the crime.

“The Identification of Prisoner’s Act was passed in the year 1920, where photography was the only technology available. Today technology has improved by leaps by bounds
and it will be an anachronism to hold that photography will not include videograph,”, the judge said.

“The taking of videograph per se will not make the suspect criminally liable. The videography should have to be compared with one already with the police by forensic experts and the evidence and report of the experts would become relevant under Section 45 of the Evidence Act,” the judge said.

The accused was arrested from his house in Meenakshipuram near Shencottah in Tirunelveli District on July 1. When police went to arrest him, he allegedly used a knife and slashed his
neck to evade arrest.

He was taken to Tirunelveli Medical College Hospital and treated for his wounds and later brought to Chennai and admitted to the Government Royapettah Hospital.


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