Bombay HC Finds Woman Guilty Of Culpable Homicide, Not Murder, For Setting Husband On Fire [Read Judgment]

Bombay HC Finds Woman Guilty Of Culpable Homicide, Not Murder, For Setting Husband On Fire [Read Judgment]

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has set aside a judgment by the trial court in Omerga convicting a woman of her husband’s murder.

In a judgment dated April 3, 2013, the sessions court sentenced the accused to life imprisonment. This was challenged by the accused before the high court.

A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice KK Sonawane had reserved judgment in the case in January and the verdict was pronounced on Friday.

According to the prosecution, the accused was married to deceased Vaijinath Shinde and they had frequent quarrels.

On March 31, 2011, both the accused and Vaijinath had an argument. Around 3.30 am, two brothers of the deceased, who lived in the same house, heard Vaijinath screaming. They rushed into his room where they found him on fire. Vaijinath kept saying his wife poured kerosene on him and set him on fire.

One of Vaijinath’s brothers also saw the accused running away. Thereafter, Vaijinath was taken to the civil hospital where Executive Magistrate Vijaya Solapurkar recorded his dying declaration, in presence of his doctor.

Following the deceased’s dying declaration, the accused was booked under Section 307 (attempt to murder), and after Vaijinath’s death, Section 302 (punishment for murder) was added.

The accused pleaded not guilty to all charges before the trial court.

After perusing through all the evidence placed on record and examining all the witnesses in the case, the bench held the accused did commit the offence of pouring kerosene and setting her husband on fire.

However, the court observed: “Upon careful perusal of the contents of the dying declaration, which is recorded by the Special Executive Magistrate, it appears that Appellant, in a heat of anger, due to a quarrel took place in the night, poured kerosene on the person of Vaijinath and set him on fire. On plain reading of this version from the said dying declaration, it is abundantly clear that, there was neither premeditation on the part of the accused, nor there was preparation for such commission of offence. In that view of the matter, taking into consideration aforementioned mitigating circumstances, we are of the view that, exception 4 to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code applies to the facts of the present case and appropriate conviction would be under Section 304 Part II of the Indian Penal Code.”

It set aside the trial court’s verdict and held the accused guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, partly allowing the appeal.

Read the Judgment here.


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