The Madras High Court Tuesday acquitted 21 students of Dr Ambedkar Law College who were sentenced to three years imprisonment in connection with a clash in its campus in 2008.
Justice R Suresh Kumar passed the order allowing the appeals against the order of the Additional Sessions Judge convicting all the students and sentencing them to undergo three years simple imprisonment besides imposing a fine of Rs 5,000 each.
Noting that most of the students were now enrolled as lawyers and their practice suspended in view of the conviction, the judge said he was compounding the offence under IPC section 325 to give a quietus to the litigation to reach a pragmatic solution.
He also said the prosecution had not conducted any identification parade and the only crucial witness, according to the trial court, was the college principal who had also categorically stated that he was not able to identify the accused people except one.
The matter relates to the clash between two groups of students of the law college over celebrating 'Devar Jayanthi' on October 30, 2008, resulting in injuries to three of them.
The judge in his order made an appeal to the student community to realise that only the universal brotherhood shall be the mantra among them during their school and college days and should cherish human value.
"... Whatever animosity, ill-will or hatchet emerged in day-to-day life, that should be buried then and there. Ours is the nation of Mahatma Gandhi, who has given the greatest weapon to the mankind, which is none else than non-violence," the judge added.
(With inputs from agencies.)