New Delhi: Five members of a family,
including four women, have been sentenced to life term by a
Delhi court for burning alive the family`s daughter-in-law
after a quarrel on a petty issue.
Additional Sessions Judge Sanjeev Aggarwal awarded
life imprisonment to convicts relying on the dying declaration
of victim Anuradha, who was set afire by her in-laws in
September 2007 after a quarrel on the issue of fixing an iron
grill in the house.
"There is no reason to discard the dying declaration
as no contrary evidence has been brought on record by the
defence to show why the deceased would falsely implicate the
"Rather there was a strong motive on the part
of the accused persons to eliminate the deceased as she was
not obeying their commands," the court said, while convicting
The people who were convicted included victim`s
sisters-in-law -- Arti and Poonam-- and mother-in-law Jamuna,
besides the latter`s sister Babli and her husband Baljeet
Verma, all Madipur residents of West Delhi.
The court also imposed a fine of Rs 3,000 on each of
the convicts. The victim had also named her father-in-law in
the dying declaration, but he died during the trial.
The victim`s husband had deposed that he had been
living in his father`s house along with his wife and two
minor children, but he had some differences with his father,
who wanted him to move out.
The prosecution told the court that the victim was set
ablaze as she wanted to put an iron grill to segregate the
part of the house in which she was living along with her
husband and children from the section occupied by her in-laws.
After the incident, the victim was rushed to
Safdarjung Hospital where she succumbed to her burns a day
The convicts pleaded innocence, contending that they
were falsely implicated in the case.
The defence counsel questioned the victim`s dying
declaration saying that there was no independent corroboration
of the statement.
He also pointed out that as per the medical records of
the deceased, she was suffering from 100 percent burns on her
hands and feet and therefore it was impossible for her
to sign her dying declaration.
The court, however, rejected the defence contention
saying that the victim was fit to make dying declaration.
"As per post mortem report, it is not reported that
the internal organs of the deceased had been damaged due to
singing on receiving the burn injuries. Therefore, it shows
that the brain of the deceased was in proper condition,
therefore, she was in a fit condition to make dying
declaration," the court said.