Mumbai: Acquitting a man serving life-term for murdering his wife of the charge, the Bombay High Court has commuted his sentence to eight years after observing that the crime was committed on the spur of the moment after he saw his wife in a compromising position with another man.
A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode acquitted Vishwanath Shelar under the serious charge of murder and instead convicted him for culpable homicide and sentenced him to eight years in jail. Shelar who has already spent over eight years pending his trial will now be released.
According to the prosecution, Shelar on January 9, 2004 picked up a quarrel with his wife Kalpana and stabbed her to death.
Though Shelar admitted to the homicide during his trial before a lower court he argued that the offence was committed in a fit of rage after he caught Kalpana in the act with another man.
Advocate Yug Choudhary, appearing for Shelar in the high court, argued that the accused in his statement has defended his assault on his wife on the account of grave and sudden provocation after seeing her with another man.
Choudhary had sought the court to give the accused benefit of Exception 1 to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by which a culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, whilst deprived of the power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation or causes the death of any other person by mistake or accident.
Accepting the argument, the high court said, "The evidence on record clearly suggests that the accused must have seen something lascivious between his wife and another man just when he entered the house. There can be little doubt that if the accused had witnessed such a scene his mind would have suddenly deranged. Any ordinary man with normal senses would be outraged at such a scene."
Giving benefit to the accused, the bench set aside the life sentence awarded to Shelar for murder by the lower court and convicted him on a lesser charge of culpable homicide.