Wife’s murder: HC reduces life sentence of man to 10 years

The Bombay High Court has reduced to ten years the life imprisonment sentence awarded to a man for killing his wife by striking a blow on her neck at their home in Nashik nine years ago.

A bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and A R Joshi said the convict Narayan Mahaskar was guilty under 304 IPC part one (culpable homicide not amounting to murder having an intention to cause death) and reduced his sentence to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment, instead of 302 IPC (murder) under which he was awarded life imprisonment by the lower court.

The bench noted in their recent order that the evidence of witnesses points to a sudden fight between the couple on the day of the incident in which the husband struck a blow on the neck of his wife as a result of which she succumbed to injuries at their rental home.

The court said that only one blow was administered on the neck and no weapon was used in the attack. Looking into the nature of the injury and the circumstances, the judges said they were of the opinion that the convict had intended to cause the death of his wife and, hence, the offence should fall under section 304 of IPC, instead of 302.

According to the prosecution, the couple was staying in a rented house and used to quarrel every day. The incident occurred on the intervening night of September 1-2, 2005.

Their landlady Jijabai Sonawane found the victim dead in the house and reported the matter to the police.

Narayan had absconded and a look out notice was issued against him. He was declared a proclaimed offender.

He was arrested after ten months at the instance of a real estate agent who had helped him in getting the house on rent.

The convict had argued that there was a sudden fight between the two and he had struck a blow in a fit of anger. He took the defence that he had no intention to kill.

However, the prosecution argued that the accused had the intention to kill his wife and he struck very hard on her neck as a result of which she died. The accused had also absconded not for few days but for ten months.

Bombay HC acquits man convicted for wife’s murder

A man has been acquitted by the Bombay High Court convicted by a lower court for murdering his wife by setting her afire eight years ago.

Hearing the appeal filed by Pune-resident Bhanudas Thite, a division Bench of Mr Justice V K Tahilramani and Mr Justice P D Kode recently set aside the 2005 order of the Pune trial court which had sentenced him to life imprisonment.

According to the prosecution, Mr Thite lost his job in 2004, and consequently he and wife Indubai often quarrelled. On 3 July, 2004, he poured kerosene on her and set her on fire. And after that he set himself on fire too.

Though Mr Thite survived, his wife suffered more than 90 per cent burns and died after three days in a hospital. In her dying declaration, Indubai stated that her husband had set her on fire.

The High Court, however, noted that medical case papers had “suicidal burns” written in the column ‘history’, followed by a stroke, and the word “homicidal”. The word “suicidal” had not been struck out and “homicidal” had not been initiated (if it was intended to be a correction).

Moreover, “homicidal” was written in a lighter ink, the judges noted.

“In view of this…we are not inclined to place any reliance on the word ‘homicidal’…. when Indubai was first admitted in the hospital, history was given as “suicidal” burns and the fact that her husband also poured kerosene on himself is stated in the papers,” the Bench said.

“Thus it appears that both appellant and deceased tried to commit suicide, and thereafter the appellant has been falsely implicated in this case,” it said.

The judges noted that though Indubai was in the hospital for more than three days, the dying declaration was not recorded by a special executive magistrate. “This also creates a doubt about the genuineness of the prosecution case.”

The dying declaration of Indubai was recorded at 12.15 p.m. on the day of the incident. The medical case papers showed that she was admitted at 11.50 a.m, and her condition was not satisfactory. A doctor informed police of the case at 12.05 p.m. The court wondered how, in a span of ten minutes, Indubai gave her dying declaration to police.

It was not possible that the police constable could have reached the hospital, got the victim examined by doctors, satisfied himself that she was in a fit condition to give statement and then proceeded to record her statement at 12.15 p.m, the High Court said.

“Looking at the entire evidence on record, we are inclined to grant benefit of doubt to the appellant,” the judges said.