A division bench of justices S Nagamuthu and Anita Sumanth slashed the jail term yesterday holding that it was not a pre-meditated murder and was committed in a fit of rage after a fight between the two students in 2008.
The bench passed the order partly allowing the appeal of convict D Parthiban challenging the Kancheepuram district and sessions judge last year's ruling that found him guilty of committing murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and the unintentional killing under 304 (II) of IPC.
Setting aside the student's conviction and sentence under murder charges, the bench sentenced him to four years in jail for unintentional killing and fined him Rs 2 lakh.
According to the prosecution, Parthiban and the victim Rajkumar were students of a private engineering college in Kancheepuram and stayed in the hostel.
They quarrelled over a small matter and Parthiban was attacked by Rajkumar in his classroom on September 4. The next day, Parthiban went to the Rajkumar's classroom to talk about it.
An argument broke out again, following which the accused hit the other on his head with the wooden plank.
Though Rajkumar was hospitalised, he remained unconscious for over seven months. Subsequently, Rajkumar died without responding to treatment in June,2009.
The police booked Parthiban on murder charges while the trial court sentenced him to life imprisonment.
In his ruling on Parthiban's appeal, the bench said, "There was a fight between the accused and the deceased. This would clearly go to show that the wordy quarrel had culminated into a fight. There was no premeditation. Thus the accused did not intend to cause the death of the deceased at all."
It noted that the accused, having lost his self-control due to the quarrel and fight, had taken a wooden plank and made a single blow on the head of the fellow student.
The bench directed the trial court to pay the fine amount to the parents of the deceased as compensation.