While announcing life imprisonment to two persons who killed a Dhanbad judge last year, a special court said that the murder shook the entire judicial fraternity, reported Bar and Bench on Saturday.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Uttam Anand had died on July 28 last year after a three-wheeler ran over him. CCTV camera footage of the incident showed the vehicle suddenly swerving towards the 49-year-old judge, who was walking on an empty road, and hitting him.

On July 28 this year, autorickshaw driver Lakhan Kumar Verma and his accomplice Rahul Kumar Verma were held guilty by a Dhanbad court under Sections 302 (murder), 201 (disappearance of evidence) and 34 (acts done with common intention) of the Indian Penal Code. On August 6, they were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment till death.

In the sentencing order released on Saturday, Special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge, Dhanbad Rajni Kant Pathak said that Anand’s killing created an atmosphere of fear among the family members of judicial officers as well as the citizens of the country.

“The general people was compelled to think, if this happens to a judge, so what would happen to ordinary citizen and as such the convicts should be punished severely,” the order said.

The judge noted that there are only two punishments for for murder – one of life imprisonment and another of hanging till death, reported PTI. Pathak, however, pointed out that Anand’s killing does not come under the purview of rarest of the rate cases as per Supreme Court rulings.

He said that if they were given life imprisonment, they could be released after 14 years or so in accordance to the jail manual.

“But to the mind of this court such culprit needs to be kept behind bar till the end of his life,” the order said. “If released, it would send a wrong massage to society particularly those who witnessed such type of incident. Also they may commit the same offence again having no respect and regard for human life and law of the land.”

Before his death, Judge Anand had been hearing the murder case of Ranjay Singh, who was a close confidante of former Jharia MLA Sanjiv Singh. The judge had also denied bail to Ravi Thakur, a protégé of Uttar Pradesh shooters Abhinav Singh and Aman Singh, just three days before his death.

The trial in Judge Anand’s murder case began in February this year. The case was transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation by the Jharkhand government.