1. The case against the appellant was that at about sunset on the 18th of June, 1934, near the village of Mandagapalayam, he stabbed twp women with a spear inflicting fatal injuries upon them, The two women were named Pappayi and Palani. The appellant had been on terms of illicit intimacy with Palani and it is said that Pappayi had persuaded Palani to give him up. This was the supposed motive for the attack by the appellant upon the two women.
2. Pappayi and Palani were both taken to the hospital at Tiruchengode the same evening and as they were in a dangerous condition, the Sub-Magistrate (P.W. 13) was sent for and both of them made dying declarations. Ex. D is the dying declaration of Palani but the learned Sessions Judge has not relied on this because it contains internal evidence that Palani was not fully conscious when she was making her statement. Ex. E is the dying declaration of Pappayi who was fully conscious while her statement was being recorded. Besides the evidence contained in the dying declaration of Pappayi, there were the depositions in the Magistrate's Court of no less then seven eye-witnesses, the women (P.Ws. 3 to 9) who were accompanying Palani and Pappayi on their way back from their field. All these witnesses in the Magistrate's Court gave evidence against the appellant in accordance with the statement made by Pappayi in her dying declaration. But when they came to the Sessions Court, five of them (P.Ws. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8) alleged that they had no personal knowledge of the occurrence. One (P.W. 9) said that she had only seen the stabbing of Pappayi and only one (P.W. 7) had adhered to the testimony which she gave before the Committing Magistrate. In these circumstances the learned Sessions Judge admitted as evidence under Section 288 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the depositions of P.Ws. 3, 4, 5, 6 and 8 in the Magistrate's Court. It is quite clear that he was fully justified in so doing and in treating those depositions as substantive evidence.
3. The appellant absconded and was not arrested until the 27th of March, 1940, when P.W. 15, a member of the Vigilance Committee found him on the street, and, having some recollection in his mind of a Gazette Notification, arrested him and took him to the Sub-Magistrate of Tiruchengode. That is the reason why this case did not come on for trial until July, 1940.
4. Learned Counsel for the appellant has quite rightly made no attempt to show that the evidence against the appellant cannot be accepted. He has urged only the question of sentence. Quoting the judgment in R.T. No. 141 of 1929, learned Counsel has urged that since the offence took place more than six years ago, the appellant might be let off with a sentence of transportation for life. We see that in the case referred to, the only reason for reducing the sentence of death which had been passed by the learned Sessions Judge to a sentence of transportation for life was that ten years had elapsed between the crime and the punishment. With due respect we do not think that that alone is any ground for imposing a lesser sentence. On the contrary we think it would be a dangerous proposition to state that if a murderer succeeds in making himself scarce for a number of years, he may then hope to escape the extreme penalty of the law in a case in which the extreme penalty is clearly called for. There are no extenuating circumstances in this case. The appellant deliberately committed two murders, without any excuse.
5. We confirm the conviction of the appellant for the two offences of murder and the sentence of death and dismiss his appeal.