June 2, 2009 1:08:52 am
After grabbing the headlines recently for asking men to obey their wives,Justice Markandeya Katju of the Supreme Court on Monday observed that no mercy should be shown to the people behind dowry deaths,adding that they should be hanged.
You have burnt to death a woman by pouring kerosene. How can you do such a barbaric act? It is an uncivilised act. You should be hanged for the crime, noted a vacation Bench comprising Justices Markandeya Katju and Deepak Verma. In India,hundreds of innocent women are being burnt to death. It is an uncivilised act. How can we do it? We should hang such persons.
The observation was made in a case where the Bench refused to grant bail to Mahender Kumar Gulati,a convict in a bride-burning case. We will not grant you any relief. You can try your luck before another Bench, the apex court told his counsel Jasbir Singh Malik.
In this case,the victim,Rajani,in her dying declaration,had accused her husband Mahender Kumar Gulati,his elder brother Prem Kumar Gulati and the latters wife of constantly harassing her and then setting her ablaze after pouring kerosene oil over her at their house in Haryanas Bhiwani district.
The Bench at one stage proceeded to issue notice to accused Prem Gulati as to why life imprisonment should not be enhanced to death sentence. We will issue notice as to why the punishment should not be enhanced to death, the Bench told the counsel,but later advised him to move some other Bench for securing bail to the convict.
The Bench was not convinced with Maliks argument that the accused had no role in Rajanis death,which he claimed was an accidental case of burning when oil spilled over her while she was cooking. Malik submitted that Prem had no motive to kill Rajani as he himself was devastated as his wife,Bimla,had an illicit relationship with his younger brother,Mahender,the husband of the deceased.
On April 25,2006,the sessions court in Bhiwani had convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment Prem,his wife Bimla and Mahender for the murder of Rajani who,according to the prosecution,was set ablaze on December 9,2003. Later,she succumbed to the burns.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court confirmed the sentence,and the criminal appeals filed by the two brothers have been pending in the apex court. Since Bimla had died during the pendency of the trios appeal in the high court,the case against her has abated.
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