The Kerala High Court on Wednesday opined that the pressure mounted by the public and amplified by the media cannot be allowed to sway the legal system in with sensationalized cases [Kiran Kumar v. State of Kerala]..A division bench of Justices Alexander Thomas and Sophy Thomas made the observation while considering appeals against the conviction and sentence imposed by a trial court on Kiran Kumar in the sensational dowry death case of his wife, Vismaya. The bench opined that the media is bound to do their duty, irrespective of whether the case is sensationalized or not. The legal system ought to remain above it all, the judges said."In cases of this nature, because it is sensational, the media is bound to do their duty. Whatever they feel is important, they will highlight. What we will call sensationalism, they will say they are doing their duty. Let us do our duty irrespective of what the media is saying," the Bench orally remarked..Justice Alexander Thomas went on to give his opinion on how courts should react in such cases."Court and prosecution must be sensitive to public opinion, but the investigation must be conducted as per the CrPC. Public interest is one thing, but to be swayed by too much public pressure and public criticism is another," he said. .He spoke of the ever-increasing media debates on court proceedings by self-proclaimed experts. To drive the point home, he made an apparent reference to the public furore over the recent tussle between Kerala Governor Arif Khan and the Vice-Chancellors of various universities. "Think of what happened 3 days ago. So many people are acting as if they are experts in public law. We have to be dispassionate of these things. Even though discussion after discussion is taking place, we, the Court, and the lawyers have to be dispassionate about such things. All institutions are facing this problem because of this excessive reviewing and scanning by people who are not experts in the field," he remarked.."The fourth estate can of course go by their own perspective as long as it doesn't violate any law. But we, the legal system - prosecution, defence and courts - cannot be swayed by this," the Bench reiterated..Vismaya, a 24-year-old Ayurveda student, was found hanging from the window of a bathroom in Kumar's house on June 21, 2021.Kumar was booked for charges under Sections 498A (subjecting a woman to cruelty for dowry), 306 (abetment of suicide) and 304B (dowry death) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961.In May 2022, a trial court convicted Kumar for all the offences alleged, noting in the judgment that he had meted out dowry-related harassment and abuse to Vismaya throughout their marriage.Additional District and Sessions Judge at Kollam Sujith KN awarded the following sentence to Kumar:304B IPC: 10 years imprisonment;306 IPC: 6 years imprisonment, ₹2 lakh fine;498A IPC: 2.5 years imprisonment, ₹50,000 fine;Section 3 Dowry Prohibition Act: 6 years imprisonment, ₹10 lakh fine;Section 4 Dowry Prohibition Act: 1 year imprisonment, ₹5,000 fine;The sentences were to run concurrently, which means that Kumar would have to spend only 10 years behind bars..Subsequently, three appeals were filed before the Kerala High Court challenging the trial court's judgment - one filed by Kumar, one by Vismaya's family and the third by the State..At Wednesday's hearing, the Public Prosecutor sought more time to respond to the arguments made on behalf of Kumar in an application moved by him seeking suspension of sentence. The matter will be taken up next on November 2.