NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the life term sentence awarded to a woman from Tamil Nad for killing her own five-year-old female child as she was forced to live with her mother-in-law at matrimonial home for better education and upbringing of the kid, even though her husband was abroad to earn the living.
A bench of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari and Bela M Trivedi said the findings recorded by the trial court and the Madras High Court cannot be interfered with, even though the prosecution story presented a somewhat difficult proposition but it cannot be ruled out.
The court noted that the case was based on circumstantial evidence.
"The victim child was last seen alive with the appellant only; she was required to explain the circumstances leading to the demise of the child. Upon her failure to do so and failure to give the explanation with regard to the circumstances under which death may have taken place, burden of Section 106 of the Evidence Act operates heavily against the appellant," the bench said.
In her alternative submission, she said the present case could only be of culpable homicide not amounting to murder as there was a quarrel between her and mother-in-law in the morning of the date of the incident because she wanted to go to her father's place.
"Even if so, it cannot be said that such a quarrel would make it a case of grave and sudden provocation. The circumstances as proved on record, and the manner of commission of crime, make it clear that the present case cannot be brought under any of the Exceptions of Section 300 IPC; and conviction and sentencing of the appellant under Section 302 IPC cannot be faulted," the bench said.
Vahitha was convicted of the offence of murder of her five-year-old child in the house of her mother-in-law at Perambalur in the morning of June 21, 2007.
According to the prosecution case, her husband was living abroad for earning livelihood and the appellant was mostly living with her father, Jamal Mohammed at Kolakkudi.
However, on being forced to live with her mother-in-law for the purpose of upbringing and education of the child, she found the child to be an obstacle in her desire to live separate and hence, strangulated the child to death when her mother-in-law had gone out of the house.
"The motive as suggested by the prosecution, i.e., the desire of the appellant not to live in her matrimonial house and, on being forced to do so only because of the child, she being not interested in the existence of the child, though presents a somewhat difficult proposition but, at the same time, cannot be ruled out altogether, particularly looking to the fact that, until 18.06.2007, the appellant was living with her parents and she was forced to come to Perambalur for the purpose of upbringing of the child with the family of her husband," the court said.
The trial court had relied upon the last seen evidence and convicted her, disregarding her plea for alibi that she was at her father's place at Kolakkudi.