When this postman tore a letter in a fit of rage six years ago, he scarcely knew that the act would one day earn him a two-year stay in prison.
In the incident that occurred in 2009, the convict Samuel John – after a tiff with the postmaster of the Tripunithara post office in Ernakulam district – had torn a letter meant for delivery before storming out of the office.
Stating that John doesn’t deserve any sympathy, the chief judicial magistrate of Ernakulam Shiju Sheikh sentenced him to two years’ rigorous imprisonment under the Indian Post Offices Act on Wednesday. “He was found guilty of offences registered under the Act. The court said that since he had committed a serious offence, he deserved maximum punishment under all the relevant provisions,” said public prosecutor Aromal Unni.
Sources said that John, then a postman for six years, had assigned a colleague to deliver letters to places under his jurisdiction without the postmaster’s permission. As the designated person was unfamiliar with the area, he couldn’t deliver all of them. The undelivered mail was then handed over to the postmaster.
When the postmaster summoned John in this regard, he lost his temper and tore one of the letters in his presence. Following this, an FIR was lodged against the postman.
Once the complaint was filed, police located the sender and addressee of the mail and made them witnesses in the case. Eventually, John was punished under Section 53 (penalties and procedure) of the Post Offices Act, and awarded two years’ rigorous imprisonment as well as a fine of `2,000.
“Though he (John) argued that the case was a part of personal vendetta and office politics, the court rejected his contention and awarded him maximum punishment under the relevant section of the Act,” the prosecutor said.
John was released on bail the same day, and his lawyer has said he will file an appeal in the High Court soon. Attempts to contact Kochi postal officials went in vain.