SC changes controversial paras in ruling on Staines’ killings

NEW DELHI: In wake of the criticism over its remarks on conversion, the Supreme Court today expunged its two controversial observations in its judgement on the killing of Australian missionary Graham Staines. A bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan, which had given the verdict in the Staines case on Friday, replaced the original remarks in two different paragraphs with new sentences.

The new sentence, replacing one paragraph, said, “However, more than 12 years have elapsed since the act was committed, we are of the opinion that the life sentence awarded by the High Court need not be enhanced in view of the factual position discussed in the earlier paras.”

The original para in this context had read: “In the case on hand, though Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt to death while they were sleeping inside a station wagon at Manoharpur, the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity.” The other replaced para read, “There is no justification for interfering in someone’s religious belief by any means.”

The original paragraph in this context had read, “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of use of force, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other.”

The court’s rare action of expunging its own remarks, which it called a clarification, came in the wake of criticism in the media and by Christian organisations against reference to conversion.

Dara Singh and his accomplice Mahendra Hembram, convicted for burning alive the Australian missionary and his two minor sons in January 1999, had on January 21 escaped death penalty with the Supreme Court ruling that the crime was not “rarest of rare” and upheld the life sentence awarded to the duo by the Orissa High Court.

Read more: SC changes controversial paras in ruling on Staines’ killings – The Times of India

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3 thoughts on “SC changes controversial paras in ruling on Staines’ killings

  1. SC had indicated its mind while dealing with case. It was totally uncalled to replac the paras at the instence of media and other sections of society. SC can not be expected to make changes about the comments based on evidence and facts of particular case.

  2. The SC is meant to uphold the rights of the weaker and less powerful sections of the society when wrongfully violated. But when in the light of such judgements one is forced to ponder if the judicial division is indeed as impartial and unbiased as it is supposed to be. How can setting a jeep afire with a man and his two small sons within be with the intention of ‘just teaching them a lesson’ ? And if it was, why was the fire not extinguished when they saw the situation beginning to get out of hand ? The logic is just too flawed to even begin to comprehend it.

  3. Dharmarakshaka Dara Singh

    But what act was that Pandyan? Dara kept saying he was innocent and not even there in the first place (where and when Staines was burnt) AND the courts also had no actual evidence of his having done anything. And what they did have against Dara and his co-accused, the courts had to confess was “speculative evidence” that was “absolutely weak” – not anything they could hold them guilty for (they said the evidence against Dara was “of identical nature” to what they had against his co-accused).

    The least Indians can do is believe him when he says he is innocent.

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