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Saturday, December 04, 2021

Vadodara: Man gets rigorous life imprisonment for sister-in-law’s murder

In the order, the Sessions Court judge has relied on the dying declaration of the deceased victim, stating that "no other evidence" was necessary to establish the guilt of the accused.

By: Express News Service | Vadodara |
November 19, 2021 5:44:17 am
The court, however, relied on the dying declaration of the victim — who succumbed to her injuries on February 5, 2020 at SSG hospital — which was recorded by the Mamlatdar. (File)

The Vadodara sessions court on Wednesday sentenced a man to rigorous life imprisonment for murdering his sister-in-law by setting her on fire, over a property dispute.

In the order, the Sessions Court judge has relied on the dying declaration of the deceased victim, stating that “no other evidence” was necessary to establish the guilt of the accused.

The incident occurred on February 3, 2020, in the Champaner area of old Vadodara city when Ghulam Hussain Shaikh allegedly doused his sister-in-law Shehnaaz Umar Shaikh with kerosene and set her on fire.

Shehnaaz had demand that her husband, Umar Shaikh, jointly owned by the latter and Ghulam Hussain, should transfer the house of dwelling to her name.
The FIR, registered at the City police station in Vadodara, had stated that Hussain doused Shehnaaz with kerosene from the back and set her on fire, on the first
floor of the house in contention.

Neighbours testified that they heard Shehnaaz’s cries saying, “I am burning, he has poured kerosene on me.” The witnesses included two neighbours, who had helped the family pour water to put out the flame. The neighbours as well as attending staff of SSG hospital had heard Shehnaaz name Hussain for her burns.
The city police station first booked Hussain under the Indian Penal Code section 307 (attempt to murder), which was later changed to Section 302 (murder).

In the cross-examination by the defence counsel, the witnesses, however, said that they had not seen Hussain at the crime spot. The defence also put on record that Hussain’s adjoining house had a different entry and it could not be said that he could have escaped without being spotted. The court rejected the defence argument that Shehnaaz had committed self-immolation.

Umar had told the court that although his brother had arrived in the house that afternoon and also followed his wife to the first floor, he could not go up to the floor due to a “leg injury” and did witness Hussain setting Shehnaaz on fire.

The court, however, relied on the dying declaration of the victim — who succumbed to her injuries on February 5, 2020 at SSG hospital — which was recorded by the Mamlatdar.

“As per the provisions of law if a court deems the dying declaration of a deceased victim to be fit and reliable, no other evidence is needed to convict an accused. Is the dying declaration presented in this case by the prosecution reliable and fit, is a question that the court must consider… At the time of recording the dying declaration, the victim was physically injured but had been a person of sound state of mind,” the court said.

The court also rejected the defence argument that the victim had recorded her dying declaration, accusing Hussain of the crime, under the influence of her relatives.

The court imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on Ghulam Hussain .

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