In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court observed that setting a person on fire constitutes an act of ‘extreme cruelty’ falling under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (Punishment for Murder). The case involved an appeal by a man challenging his conviction and life imprisonment for killing his wife through this heinous act.
The Bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Ujjal Bhuyan dismissed the appeal and ordered the appellant, whose sentence was earlier suspended in 2012 after about 12 years of incarceration, to surrender before jail authorities within 4 weeks. Failure to comply would result in the issuance of non-bailable warrants against him, as directed by the court.
Initially registered under Section 307 IPC (Attempt to Murder), the FIR was later amended to include Section 302 IPC (Murder) after the wife succumbed to burn injuries. In her dying declaration, the deceased had detailed a history of alcohol-fueled domestic violence, leading to the fatal incident where the appellant, in a drunken state, set her ablaze.
The Trial Court convicted the appellant under Section 302 IPC, a decision upheld by the High Court. The Supreme Court, after admitting the appeal in 2012, had released the appellant on bail considering the period of incarceration. However, the recent dismissal of the appeal reaffirms the severity of the crime.
The appellant’s defense, arguing the absence of intent to kill, was not considered by the court as it was neither raised during trial nor during the recording of the appellant’s statement under Section 313 CrPC. The Bench found no infirmity in the impugned judgments and dismissed the appeal.
The court-appointed Amicus Curiae, Aditya Singh, emphasized that the appellant’s guilt had been conclusively proven, and the concurrent findings of fact by two lower courts were not subject to interference.
CASE NAME: NARESH V. STATE OF NCT OF DELHI, CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.1189/2012
NAME: GAYATHRI MANOJ, BBA, LLB(HONS) , PRESIDENCY UNIVERSITY, BANGALORE, INTERN UNDER LEGAL VIDHIYA.
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