Decided on August 14,2002



- (1.)The prosecution case before the trial court was that appellant no. 2 Lobhabi, was married to one Pandurang Bedarkar about 17 years before the date of incident and she had two daughters by the said marriage, first one was Ratna, the deceased and the second one was Ashvina (P. W. 4). It is also stated that the appellant no. 2 had left her husband and come to the village where her mother was residing and started living with appellant no. 1. The two children were living with the mother of the appellant no. 2, namely, banabai, PW 5 along with her son Suresh pw 2. On the date of the incident the deceased and PW 4 were visiting their mother in the house where she was living with A1. It is the case of the prosecution that on the morning of 13th of May, 1994, the two appellants told the deceased to prepare their lunch and they went away to collect fire-wood and to graze the cattle. When they returned in the afternoon they found that the deceased has not cooked their lunch so becoming enraged appellant no. 1 allegedly beat up the deceased and took her to the dwelling hut next to the hut where he was living and poured kerosene on her and by the time appellant no. 2 came and set the deceased on fire, consequent to which the deceased suffered serious injuries. This incident was noticed by PW 4 second daughter of the appellant no. 2 who immediately ran to the house of PW 5 and told her grand mother and her uncle PW2. Those two witnesses came running to the hut of the appellant. At which time they found appellant no. 1 carrying the deceased in his hands. The further case of the prosecution is that on coming to know of this incident PW 3 police patil of the village came there and on inquiring from the deceased she told him that it is A1 who had beaten her up and poured kerosene on her and A2 set fire on her because she had not prepared lunch for them on that day. This statement made to PW 3 was in the presence of PW 6, PW 5 and some other villagers. There after the prosecution alleges that the deceased was sent in the state transport bus to Amravati for treatment but she died late in the night. A complaint in this regard was lodged which was recorded by PW 10. Inspector incharge of police station who conducted further inquiry and on completion of the inquiry filed charge-sheet against the appellants for the offence punishable under section 302 read with 34 IPC.
(2.)Learned sessions judge relying On the evidence of PW 4 and finding corroboration in the evidence of PWs 3, 5 and 6 found the appellant guilty and sentenced the appellants to undergo imprisonment for life under section 302 read with section 34 IPC. The High Court has confirmed the said sentence.
(3.)Shri S. Balakrishnan, learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant submitted that courts below erred in relying on the evidence of PW 4 who is the child witness and from the said evidence one could find that the said evidence is unnatural in as much as she has referred to her mother and her step father by their names. He also contended that courts below had relied upon the evidence of PWs 3 and 5 which also cannot be accepted because of the discrepancies in their evidence. Learned counsel submits from the facts narrated by the prosecution itself, it is clear that the deceased was having an affair with one Nasir because of which she was pregnant and the relationship between her and Nasir having failed she must have committed suicide.

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