Five days after the Madras High Court ordered the release of seven accused in the Kumbakonam fire tragedy, the Tamil Nadu Law Minister has defended the government's failure to ensure conviction.
Minister CVe Shanmugam told the media that the reasons for the judgement will have to be analysed before further measures are taken.
On August 10, a Madras High Court bench consisting of Justice Sathya Narayan and Justice Velumani dismissed the charges against seven of the 10 accused and asked them to pay modified fines, without specifying the reason for acquittal.
A lower court had earlier held them responsible for the death of 94 children in the school, after a thatched roof caught fire.
Parents of the children alleged that the Government had failed to represent them strongly in the Court.
"Every court will independently consider the evidences and circumstances of a case. Madras HC has given this verdict. We need to find why such a judgement was given and read the order carefully," said the Law Minister. "We will identify the reasons and gaps in our argument. The Government's lawyer has gone abroad. We will talk to him and go ahead," he added.
When questioned about whether the government had failed to efficiently argue the case, the minister said, "We argued it carefully, that is how they were convicted in the lower court with sufficient evidence. They were punished all these days and now the court has taken such a decision. We have to analyse why first."
Suryakumari, the mother of nine-year-old Karthiga, who was killed in the fire had earlier told TNM, "It seemed like a water tight case, but it just slipped through our fingers. The court by doing this has made it seem like people can get away with such crimes if they are influential enough. Most of us still can't get over what happened to our children and here the people responsible for it have been set free."