The Supreme Court modified a ‘thirty years life imprisonment without remission’ sentence imposed on a man accused of uxoricide (murder of one’s wife) to life imprisonment simpliciter taking into account that he also tried to kill himself after murdering his wife.
The trial court had awarded death penalty to the husband and the high court, holding that it is not ‘rarest of rare’, awarded life sentence, but with a minimum period of 30 years without remission.
The high court had observed: “The circumstances on record show that, the murder of the victim was committed in the manner which was extremely brutal, gruesome, diabolical, coldblooded, cruel and painful manner. Accused no.1 had no regard for human life. He had no feelings of humanity or compassion for the poor woman who has stayed in his company for two months in his own house as wife.”
But considering his young age and lack of criminal antecedents, the high court had set aside the death penalty.
In his appeal before the apex court, notice was issued only with regard to the sentence imposed on him.
A bench of Justice AK Sikri and Justice Ashok Bhushan observed: “No doubt, the case pertains to murder by the appellant of his wife. However, we also find that there are some extenuating circumstances and one of these was that after killing his wife the appellant tried to kill himself and there were blade injuries on his neck, chest and both wrists, which was found in the hands of the appellant at the time when people arrived at the place of occurrence and he was found unconscious.”
Modifying the high court order, the bench said: “We are of the opinion that the High Court should not have stated that the life sentence for a minimum period of thirty years must be served in jail without remission. Therefore, we delete that portion of the impugned order and make it a case of life imprisonment simpliciter.”