Dalit youth killing: HC pulls up Tamil Nadu govt for publishing photos of murder accused

Chennai: Taking a serious note of publication of photographs of accused in the alleged honour killing of a Dalit youth in the media despite court orders against such practice, the Madras High Court today sought an explanation from Tamil Nadu government.

Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter, a division bench, comprising Justice M Jaichandran and Justice S Nagamuthu, pulled up the police for releasing to the media photographs of the accused in the brutal murder in Udumalpet in Tirupur district, and said "we intended to issue contempt notice."

The matter relates to the March 14 attack on a couple by a gang using lethal weapons, in which Shankar (22) died and his caste Hindu wife Kousalya survived with grievous injuries.

The bench said "the photograph found in newspapers prima facie shows that it was taken when the accused were in police custody. The accused were handcuffed behind. This court has said this should not be done. How this could come in newspapers?" it asked.

Referring to its earlier judgment, the bench said that in the interest of the society, the court had earlier directed the Director General of Police to issue circulars to all police stations not to release photographs of the accused to the media as it affected identification parade, investigation and the trial.

"Despite the direction to the police, the photographs of the accused were published in some newspapers," it observed. Public Prosecutor Shanmughavelayutham submitted that it had to be verified whether police had provided the photos to the press or the press itself had taken the pictures.

He assured the bench that action would be taken if it was found that police were at fault. A new circular would be issued with regard to the same and its copies sent to media, he said.

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