An engineer was sentenced to five years of imprisonment by the High Court for abetting the suicide of his wife and for harassing her physically and mentally.
Sanjay Baburao Pathrale (33) was a deputy engineer with the Irrigation Department of the sate government. While sentencing the accused,the high court observed,The deceased Vaishali,who had cleared the Indian Administrative Exams (IAS) in 1992,had a blossoming career before her. But for the post marriage cruelty by the accused she wouldnt have committed suicide.
Justice V R Kingaonkar of the high court on February 20,held the accused guilty of charges under section 306 (abetment) and 498-A (dowry harassment) of the Indian Penal Code. The court further observed,The prosecution had brought on record substantial evidence- both documentary and oral- to show that the deceased was continuously harassed by the accused which lead to her taking the drastic step.
According to the prosecution Santosh and Vaishali,both original residents of Nagpur,got married on April 29,1992. Santosh was posted to Mal Kesapuri Field Channel Living Division,Kesapuri Camp,situated on the outskirts of Majalgaon in Auranagabad. Soon after marriage Vaishali was harassed physically and mentally.
According to her dying statement given to the police,the accused had kept a mistress and used to come home in an inebriated condition,and used to physically assault her. Tired of the harassment,on October 13,1994,she poured kerosene on herself and set herself ablaze. She was rushed to the hospital with 93 per cent burns but succumbed to her injuries.
During trial the prosecution examined over a dozen witnesses. The accused,however,denied all charges and stated that Vasiahli committed suicide due to her own frustration and without any instigation or ill-treatment by him. While handing down the sentence the bench observed that a woman may commit suicide broadly under two situations after marriage which are unrelated to cruelty.
A wife may have been so much frustrated and dejected in life due to some reason unrelated to cruelty (though cruelty independently may be there) that she may have been contemplating suicide for some time and on a particular day effectuates her resolve to end her life. The other reason as observed by the court was: She becomes so upset on account of some incident occurring on the eve of her suicide so as to yield to an irrepressible impulse to end her life. In both the situations it is the husband who has to prove the real reason for his wifes suicide before the court.
Justice Kingaonkar further held that: In the present case,the only inescapable conclusion would be that Santosh subjected the deceased Vaishali to severe cruelty which caused her suicide. The court directed him to surrender before a sessions court at Aurangabad.