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Judiciary

'No exception to murder offence,' Supreme Court upholds life term to man who threw matchstick on wife [Read Judgment]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      02 November, 2023 02:12 PM      0 Comments
No exception to murder offence Supreme Court upholds life term to man who threw matchstick on wife

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld conviction and sentence of life term imposed upon a man for murder of his wife, as he lighted a matchstick and threw it upon her by saying “you die".

The woman had poured kerosene oil upon herself to deter him from assaulting her.

A bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Pankaj Mithal rejected a contention of appellant Anil Kumar that he can at best be convicted of the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder since he neither had intention to kill and nor acted with pre-meditated mind.

The bench said the FIR and the dying declarations on record clearly contained the deceased's statement that when she had poured kerosene upon herself to deter the appellant from fighting and assaulting, he lighted a matchstick and with the intention to kill her, threw it upon her by saying “you die”.

"The exception clearly in unequivocal term states that it would be applicable where culpable homicide is committed not only without premeditated mind in a sudden fight or quarrel but also without the offender taking “undue advantage” of the situation," the bench said.  

The bench said the acts of the appellant showed premeditated mind to kill the deceased.

"The appellant cannot take advantage of the 4th Exception (to murder under Section 300 of IPC) only on the pretext that it was not on account of premeditated mind or out of a sudden fight or that his intentions were not bad as he tried his best to douse the fire and to save the life of the deceased wife for the reason that the benefit of the above exception would have been available to him, had he not taken undue advantage of  the situation," the bench said.

The incident has happened on the morning of September 26, 2010 and the FIR was lodged on the same date.

The appellant was charged for uxoricide.

At the time of the incident, their children were playing in the courtyard and that the boy, though of a tender age, had deposed that appellant was in habit of beating his wife and there used to be frequent quarrels between his parents.

The appellant claimed he is not at all guilty of burning his wife. She had the suicidal tendency and had tried to immolate herself on one earlier occasion and had once even tried to cut her veins. She herself had poured kerosene upon herself and set herself on fire. He had simply tried to douse the fire by pouring water from the bucket.  

"The defence so set up by the appellant was not accepted by either of the courts below in view of the overwhelming evidence on record regarding their frequent quarrel and the harassment meted out to the deceased wife. The ocular evidence of the witnesses clearly proved that on the date of the incident, there was again a quarrel between both of them though on a petty matter but the deceased wife, in order to avoid torture at the hands of the appellant and to deter him, went inside the kitchen and poured kerosene on herself. Thereafter, the appellant took advantage of the situation and set her on fire," the bench noted.

 

[Read Judgment]



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