The Madras High Court Bench has dismissed a criminal appeal filed by 10 Sri Lankan fishermen, who were convicted of fishing in Indian waters without permission in 2006, after it was informed that they had gone back to their country after serving the entire sentence period in prison even as the appeal was pending adjudication for the last nine years.
Taking up the appeal for final hearing now, Justice S. Vimala said: “It is represented that the accused persons had served the sentence completely. It is also represented that they have gone to Sri Lanka. Under such circumstances, this court is of the view that nothing survives for adjudication in this appeal. Accordingly, this criminal appeal is dismissed.”
The appellants, Winson, Jeseph Martin, V. Immanual Roni Manro Fernando, Sumeet, N.W. Jude Fornando, Camnivas, M.M. Kritiratna, Wasitha Malan Fernando, Dopal and Jude Brazil, had been arrested by Thermal Nagar police station in Tuticorin and convicted by the Chief Judicial Magistrate in Ramanathapuram on November 13, 2006.
The CJM, designated as a special judge to hear cases booked under the Maritime Zones of India (Regulation of Fishing by Foreign Vessels) Act, 1981, had convicted all the 10 fishermen under the 1981 Act as well as the provisions of the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920, and sentenced them to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 15 weeks.
The court had also ordered confiscation of their vessels Pramod I and II.