The Gujarat High Court on Friday modified the conviction of a man by a trial court, which sentenced him to life imprisonment in 2012, and commuted his sentence to 10 years of imprisonment under charges of culpable homicide.
The man, Kamaruddin Abdulsamad Mansuri, was convicted on murder charges for setting his wife on fire who died of 90 per cent burns. The court noted that the husband’s act was “without any premeditation, in sudden heat of passion”.
The division bench of Justices RM Chhaya and BN Karia modified Mansuri’s conviction by the trial court that found him guilty under IPC Section 302 and altered it under IPC Section 304 (II) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), thereby commuting his sentence to 10 years of imprisonment.
As per the case, the deceased, Nasimbanu, married Mansuri in 2003. In 2011, she suffered burns and lodged an FIR stating that her husband had been torturing her mentally and physically for three years with frequent quarrels.
On the day of the incident, her husband picked up a quarrel as she prepared only dal and no vegetable, she stated. Enraged over this, Mansuri told her that he would burn her. He then poured kerosene over her and set her on fire, the FIR said. She shouted for help and when people gathered around, Mansuri sprinkled water on her, called 108 ambulance and admitted her to Shardaben Hospital.
Nasimbanu succumbed to the burns, before which a dying declaration was recorded. As she died during the course of the investigation, the provisions of IPC Section 302 (murder) was added. The trial court found Mansuri guilty under IPC Sections 302, 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 498A (Husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
The HC bench noted, “Considering the evidence on record, it appears that the incident happened on account of sudden quarrel and there was no premeditation. Even in the FIR given by the deceased, the quarrel took place between the deceased and the appellant (Mansuri), who were wife and husband, over preparation of dal instead of vegetable. In the FIR, the version is that the appellant got provoked and picked up the kerosene can, which was lying in the kitchen and sprinkled kerosene and ignited her with matchstick. Therefore, in facts of this case, the act committed by appellant was without any premeditation, in sudden heat of passion…”
“The conduct also shows that the appellant tried to extinguish the fire and ultimately took her to the hospital… Evidence shows that everything happened on the spur of the moment…Thus, the case on hand falls under Exception 4 of Section 300 of IPC.”
The advocate representing Mansuri, contended that except oral deposition of the father of the deceased, nothing was on record to show that Mansuri had shown cruelty to the deceased.
Additional public prosecutor Rakesh Patel argued Mansuri’s appeal to consider the case under Exception 4 of Section 300 of the IPC on the ground that as per the evidence on record, there were two dying declarations proven by the prosecution.