Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has confirmed life sentence awarded to an unemployed man by a lower court for axing his wife to death while rejecting the defence plea that he was insane when he committed the crime.
Justices P D Kode and Vijaya Tahilramani, hearing an appeal filed by the convict Sitaram Hiraman Jopale, said the prosecution has proved his role in the crime.
"We find that the appellant has not proved the defence of insanity which has been raised by him. The evidence on record is insufficient to establish such a case," the judges said.
A Nashik sessions court had convicted Jopale on June 30, 2009 for murdering his wife Bharati at their home on July 7, 2005.
The judges said the burden of proof regarding the mental condition of the accused at the time of commission of the offence lies on the accused and this burden can not be discharged by mere creation of a doubt about his sanity.
"The accused must establish facts and circumstances from which the court may reasonably infer that the accused was, at the time of commission of the offence, by a reason of insanity, incapable of knowing the nature of the act, the legality of the act or whether the act done was right or wrong. This has not been done in this case," the bench said.
The bench while debunking Jopale`s claim of insanity pointed out that he ran away after murdering his wife which shows that the appellant knew the nature and consequences of the act.
The court also rejected as "not plausible" the defence raised by the appellant that some other person entered into the house and murdered his wife.
"On the day of the incident, the appellant, his wife, children and his father-in-law were sleeping in the only room of their house. There is no evidence to show that robbery or attempt to robbery had taken place. Also, there is nothing on record to show that the appellant`s wife Bharati had enmity with anyone so as to cause that person to kill her," the judge noted.