By AQIB AHMAD
SRINAGAR: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sentenced to life imprisonment a man from Rajouri for ‘homicidal’ killing of his wife nearly 21 years ago.
Disposing off an appeal filed by the state government, a division bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Uday Umesh Lalit set aside the acquittal of accused Vijay Kumar son of Khoju Ram of Patrara Panchgrain Rajouri and convicted him under Section 302 IPC and sentenced him to undergo imprisonment for life.
“Vijay Kumar be taken into custody to serve out the sentence,” the court said. However, the court upheld the acquittal of other accused “in the absence of clinching evidence against them.” They include Vijay Kumar’s brothers—Mukesh Kumar, Shamlal, his mother Mst. Bhijji Devi alias Poli, sisters-in-law Mst. Babli Devi wife of Mukesh Kumar and Mst. Padma Devi W/o Tirath Ram.
Along with Vijay Kumar, they were accused of murder of Kamala Devi and were tried for offence of murder before the Court of Session Judge, Rajouri. As per the prosecution, Rajinder Kumar, father of the deceased on 14 May 1995 stated Kamala Devi was married to Vijay Kumar two years prior to the incident. Due to her medical problem, she was unable to conceive, due to which Vijay was planning to do away with her in order to solemnize second marriage. On 14 May 1995, Rajinder Kumar got information that Vijay with his two brothers Mukesh Kumar and Shyam Lal, mother- Bhijji Devi, sisters-in-law: Babli Devi and Padma Devi killed Kamala Devi on the intervening night of 13/14th May, 1995.
During the investigation the body was recovered from the Nallah near Vijay’s house .
“It is obvious from the medical evidence that the death was homicidal and the body was thrown in the Nallah after killing. The body had torture marks including the burn marks,” the apex court observed.
The apex court said this was further established on record that immediately before the death, the deceased was living with her husband.
“In the light of evidence on record, it could be held that the burden would be on the husband under Section 106 of the Evidence Act to explain the circumstances in which the deceased living with him was killed and her body was thrown in the Nallah,” the apex court said.