HC confirms life sentence to man, mother in dowry death case

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Bombay High Court
Mumbai, June 19: In a case of dowry death, the Bombay High Court has confirmed the life sentence awarded to a man and his mother for the murder of the former's wife.

The duo were also found guilty of inflicting cruelty on the deceased Sarika as she failed to give in to her in-law family's dowry demand for gold ornaments.

Dismissing their appeals, justices PD Kode and Vijaya Tahilramani held last week that the trial court had rightly sentenced Sachin Borhade and his mother Suman, both residents of Khed taluka in Pune district, to life imprisonment for murder and another two years for cruelty.

Sachin often suspected his wife's character and even doubted she was carrying the child of someone else and not him.

On February 25, 2005, Sachin poured kerosene on Sarika while his mother ignited a match stick and flung it on her.

As Sarika's sari caught fire, she tried to put out the flames with a quilt. An injured Sarika was rushed to hospital, where she passed away after few days.

The court noted that the dying declaration had revealed that after Sarika was set on fire, Sachin's mother Suman stood outside the door of the kitchen and did not allow her daughter-in-law to come out.

"It reveals that the fire was extinguished by the victim by using quilt and not by her husband. The evidence definitely denotes that the act committed by the appellants cannot be said to be an act that occurred at their hands in a heat of anger. On the contrary, the evidence denotes that the same were calculated acts," the judges noted.

"Having regard to the nature of the acts committed by them, we find it difficult to accept that the appellants were not entertaining the intention to commit the murder of the deceased. Hence, we do not find any fault with such a finding arrived by the trial Court for the cogent reasons given," the judges said.

The trial court in Pune had convicted both the accused on December 18, 2007, for committing Sarika's murder and also subjecting her to cruelty for not meeting their demand of bringing gold ornaments from her parents.

For the offence of murder, they got a life sentence, while for the offence of cruelty, they were sentenced to two years of rigorous imprisonment.

Both the sentences are to run concurrently.

Sarika married Sachin on May 14, 2004 at her native place. After three months, Sarika's parents invited her and her in-laws to their house on the occasion of Diwali.

However, they asked Sarika's parents to give them at least one to two kgs of gold or else they would not send her. When Sarika told her in-laws that her parents cannot afford to give such ornaments as they had already incurred debt for her marriage, both the appellants started abusing and beating her. As she was pregnant, they also suspected the paternity of the child.

Thereafter, Sarika's sister and brother visited her and requested her in-laws to allow Sarika to visit her parent's house. They, too, were told that they would have to give gold ornaments if they wanted Sarika to visit their house.

On Diwali, Sarika went alone to her parents house and told them about the cruelty meted out to her by her in-laws and also about their demand for gold. After she returned to her in-laws place, the ill-treatment continued and on the ill-fated day she was set on fire.

PTI

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