Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has upheld the life sentence awarded to a 31-year-old man from Sangli who stabbed to death his father over a property dispute.
The conviction of Vitthal Mane was mainly based on the evidence of his mother and sole eyewitness, Kalavati Mane.
"Looking at the evidence on record, particularly the version of Kalavati, we are of the view that the prosecution has proved that the appellant assaulted his father Hanumant with a knife and caused his death. Hence, we find no merit in the appeal," said justices P D Kode and V K Tahilramani recently.
Kalavati and Hanumant had four sons and the appellant was the youngest among the siblings. Hanumant had partitioned his land and each of his sons was allotted four acres.Hanumant had kept three-and-a-half acres for himself.
The appellant sold the land which came to his share and spent the entire amount on his vices. Thereafter, he used to come to his father Hanumant and demand money from him. He also quarrelled with his father.
On October 7, 2007, the appellant came home and in the presence of his mother, he stabbed Hanumant in the abdomen and escaped after committing the crime.
A shocked Kalavati ran out of the house and called police who registered a case of murder and arrested Vithal. Hanumant was taken to hospital where he was declared dead.
Vithal denied that he had killed his father and said he was falsely implicated in the crime. His lawyer Abhay Kumar Apte pleaded that Kalavati was suffering from night blindness and the trial court had erred in relying upon her evidence.
However, the High Court bench said, on going through the evidence of Kalavati, we do not find it is stated anywhere that she was suffering from night blindness nor any suggestion was put to her that she was suffering from night blindness.
Apte relied on the evidence of appellant`s brother Gurunath to show that Kalavati was suffering from night blindness. However, the extent of night blindness has not come on record, the judges observed in a recent order.
"Moreover, as stated earlier, no question had been put to Kalavati that she was suffering from night blindness and hence she was unable to see the appellant assaulting her husband," the judges further said.
Defence lawyer Apte further submitted that the appellant
himself had sustained severe injuries and these were explained by the prosecution.
This raises a doubt about the genuineness of the prosecution case.
In order to show that the appellant had sustained injuries, he relied upon the evidence of a police sub-inspector, who was the investigating officer in the case.
However, the judges noted, "On going through the evidence of the PSI and the other evidence on record, we find that the injuries sustained by the appellant are not on record. Thus, it is not known what were the injuries sustained by the appellant and the nature and extent of the injuries."
"Moreover, we find that the evidence of the investigating officer shows the appellant fell down and received injuries. Thus, we find that the injuries sustained by the appellant have been satisfactorily explained by the prosecution," the judges observed.
The bench opined that the evidence adduced by the prosecution showed that the appellant had killed his father and hence they found no merit in his appeal and accordingly dismissed it while confirming life sentence imposed upon him by the trial court.