No breather for Balakrishna Reddy as HC declines to stay conviction of ex-Minister

The Madras High Court has dismissed former State Minister Balakrishna Reddy's plea for the suspension of his conviction in a 1998 riot case against him. When his petition challenging a special court's order which sentenced him to four years of imprisonment came up for hearing, Justice V Parthiban, after hearing the arguments, passed the order to dismiss his application for suspension of conviction alone.

According to the judge, "This court is unable to comprehend as to how yesteryear law breaker can rightfully claim to continue as law framer in the teeth of the impugned conviction, by seeking indulgence of this court to suspend the conviction." He added: "Though today, society does not expect saints in public life due to progressive erosion of traditional values and ethos, at least it can hope to look forward to have tolerant and saner persons with decorous conduct in public life."

"This court is of the considered view that the charges against the appellant/accused are too serious for which he was convicted and it would not be in the fitness of things to suspend the sentence for the present and much less suspending the conviction to enable the appellant/accused to retain his membership notwithstanding his deviant conduct, culminating in the conviction by the court of law," the judge said. On January 7, special court judge J Santhi found Reddy and 15 others guilty of offences under Sections 147 (rioting), 341 (wrongful restraint) of the IPC and Section 3 of the Tamil Nadu Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act.