Thane, Dec 9: A 36-year-old villager from Angaon village of Bhiwandi taluka who was found guilty of cruelty towards his wife, who died during a suicide bid, has been convicted and sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by a district court here.
Additional Sessions Judge R N Bawankar also slapped a fine of Rs 5000 on accused Madan Tukaram Patil. Patil was convicted under section 498-A (cruelty) of the IPC and acquitted from charges under section 306 of the IPC (abetment of suicide).
The mother of the accused Shobha Tukaram Patil, 56, who was also tried in the case was given the benefit of doubt and acquitted by the judge.
In his submission, APP Buleshwar Hinge told the court that the Victim Sunita was married to the accused in 2003 and the marriage was an intercaste one.
As it was an intercaste marriage, mother-in-law found it difficult to accept and on that count she used to harass her. She also used to instigate the accused husband who in turn used to harass, abuse and beat her even infront of other people.
The accused was addicted to liquor and under its influence, he used to abuse and assault her. On December 1, 2014 around 2330 hours, she served meals to her husband and advised him to leave bad company, which irked him following which he started abusing her. He took her to kitchen and threw a water pot on her injuring her head.
Thereafter she took a can of kerosene, poured it on herself and tried to set herself afire. However, when she realized that her husband would not save her, she dropped the lighted matchstick on to the kitche floor.
But her saree caugt fire and she began screaming for help, the court was told. She was initially admitted to a local hospital but later shifted to Sion Hospital where she died on December 15, while undergoing treatment.
In his order the judge noted, "the prosecution case rests upon the evidence of a prosecution witness which is nothing but the facts narrated by Sunita before her death. So far as the charge of suicide is concerned, the statement of Sunita shows that there was no instigation on the part of the accused to commit suicide but said incident is nothing but an accident.
Thus, at the relevant time, there was no abetment on the part of accused persons for commission of suicide. Therefore, the dying declaration of Sunita clearly shows that due to accident, she caught fire.
Thus marshalling on the evidence on record, prosecution proved beyond reasonable doubt that accused being husband of Sunita subjected her to cruelty by doubting her chastity under the instigation of his bad friends," the judge observed.
The accused submitted that he was the only earning member in his family and a lenient view be taken while awarding the punishment.
The APP submitted that due to the inactiveness on the part of the accused, Sunita lost her life. Therefore, maximum punishment be awarded. However, court said that so far as awarding of sentence is concerned, the punishment will not serve the purpose of the trial.