25 Feb 2021 3:47 AM GMT
Observing that the medieval notion of the wife being the 'property of the husband to do as he wishes, still persists,' the Bombay High Court refused to show any leniency to a man convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Justice Revati Mohite Dere held the husband's contention that his wife, by refusing to make tea, offered a grave and sudden provocation to be...
Observing that the medieval notion of the wife being the 'property of the husband to do as he wishes, still persists,' the Bombay High Court refused to show any leniency to a man convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Justice Revati Mohite Dere held the husband's contention that his wife, by refusing to make tea, offered a grave and sudden provocation to be "ludicrous," "clearly untenable and unsustainable."
The wife, struck by her husband with a hammer for suspecting her character and refusing to make tea had eventually succumbed to her injuries.
"Such cases, reflect the imbalance of gender – skewed patriarchy, the socio-cultural milieu one has grown up in, which often seeps into a marital relationship. There is imbalance of gender roles, where wife as a homemaker is expected to do all the household chores."
Justice Dere further observed that the emotional labour in a marriage is expected to be done by the wife.
"Coupled with these imbalances in the equation, is the imbalance of expectation and subjugation, Social conditions of women also make them handover themselves to their spouses. Thus, men, in such cases, consider themselves as primary partners and their wives, `chattel'."
"This medieval notion of the wife being the property of the husband to do as he wishes, unfortunately, still persists in the majority mindset. Nothing but notions of patriarchy."
Justice Dere quoted from, 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For Chattel' by Margo Wilson and Martin
Daly: "By `proprietary', we mean first that men lay claim to particular women as songbirds lay claim to territories, as lions lay claim to a kill, or as people of both sexes lay claim to valuables. Having located an individually recognizable and potentially defensible resource packet, the proprietary creature proceeds to advertise and exercise the intention of defending it from rivals. Proprietariness has the further implication, possibly peculiar to the human case, of a sense of right or entitlement".
The court relied heavily on the testimonies of the couple's six-year-old daughter, an extra judicial confession to the wife's uncle and recovery of a blood stained hammer. The child had witnessed the incident, while the husband had told the uncle that he struck his wife with a hammer.
The trial court's judge had discarded the child's testimony as it was recorded 10-12 days after the incident.
Justice Dere noted that the child's statement may have been recorded five days after her mother's demise and her statement under section 164 of the CrPC nearly 15 days thereafter, but she hasn't buckled under cross examination. The trauma of a child losing a loved one in such a brutal way, will have to be borne in mind, the court said.
The child had witnessed her parents quarrelling, her father striking her mother on the head, cleaning the blood off her mother and taking her to the hospital thereafter.
"It will have to be borne in mind, first the trauma of a young child, aged 6 years on seeing her mother being assaulted by her father; the trauma of seeing not only the assault but of seeing her mother lying there for an hour, during which, her father (appellant) gave her mother a bath, to clean the blood and also cleaned the spot."
Jusitce Dere said that the man could have saved his wife's life had he not wasted an hour cleaning up the blood.
"If the appellant had rushed Manisha to the hospital, soon after the incident, possibly her life could have been saved and Rohini would not have lost her mother ."
It was the case of the prosecution that 35-year-old Santosh Mahadev Atkar, a resident of Vitthal Hospital Servant Quarter, in Solapur district of Maharashtra would have frequent quarrels with his wife as he suspected she was cheating on him.
On December 19, 2013 at about 6:00 a.m the victim Manisha was leaving her house, without preparing tea, due to which the couple had a fight and Atkar assaulted his wife on her head with a hammer from the back.
The accused then gave his wife a bath and wiped the blood-stains from the spot, He took her to the hospital only thereafter. Manisha's condition was critical and she was unable to speak. She finally succumbed to her injurie on December 25, 2013.
On July 1, 2016 Additional Sessions Judge, Pandharpur convicted Atkar under sections 304 (II) of the IPC and sentenced him to 10 years in prison along with a fine of Rs 5000.
The court was hearing his appeal against conviction.
"Considering the overwhelming evidence on record pointing to the complicity, no infirmity can be found in the impugned judgment and order convicting and sentencing the appellant for the offences mentioned in para 2 hereinabove. The facts on record also do not warrant any reduction in the sentence awarded to the appellant. Accordingly, the appeal is dismissed."
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