A woman and her live-in partner, serving life term for killing her former paramour, were let off by the Delhi High Court which accepted their plea that they had acted in self-defence to protect her daughter from being molested. A bench of Justices Siddharth Mridul and Mukta Gupta acquitted the couple saying that the prosecution evidence revealed that her ex-lover had tried to sexually molest the woman’s minor daughter and in the ensuing scuffle, he had died due to strangulation.
“In view of the nature of injury which was not pre-determined but on the spur of the moment, it cannot be held that there was common intention of the appellants Madhu and Virender to commit murder of the deceased (Satender). “Therefore, the impugned judgement convicting the appellants for offence punishable under section 302 (murder) and 34 (common intention) of the IPC cannot be sustained,” the bench said and added “before this court the appellants have taken the plea of self-defence which is also borne out from the prosecution case itself”.
The high court, while allowing their appeal against the trial court’s conviction and sentencing orders of March 18 and March 21 respectively, also acquitted them of charges of destruction of evidence, as provided under section 201, and culpable homicide not amounting to murder, under section 304 of the penal code. The bench acquitted them of the charges under sections 201 and 304 of the IPC on the grounds that they “successfully established their right of self defence covered under section 100 IPC”.
It said that the appellants plea of self defence can be inferred from their statements given to the court during the trial. The bench noted in its 22-page verdict that the appellants in their statement before the trial court under section 313 of the criminal procedure code had stated that they were falsely implicated in the present case and only a scuffle had taken place between them and the deceased as he had tried to molest and rape the woman’s minor daughter.
The court ordered that the couple be released immediately if not required in any other case. The trial court, while awarding life imprisonment to the couple, had said that they had a “strong motive” to eliminate the woman’s ex-lover. According to the prosecution, police had found 35-year-old Satender’s body in a box in a house in north west’s Delhi Bawana in September 2008. During investigation, it was found that the house belonged to 42-year-old Madhu and 38-year-old Virender. Satender had come to their place the previous night and they had allegedly strangulated him after a quarrel.
Madhu, who was previously married to someone else, had started living with Satender along with her daughter but left him when he had attempted to molest the child, police had said. The woman, thereafter, had moved in with Virender but Satender used to visit them. On the intervening night of September 10-11, 2008 Satender had again tried to molest the girl after which both the accused killed him, police had said. During the trial, both the accused claimed innocence and denied the allegations levelled against them.