Mumbai: Observing that the crime had taken place in the heat of the moment, the Bombay High Court has set aside the life imprisonment awarded to a man for burning his wife alive, and instead sentenced him to six years in jail.
A bench of justices V K Tahilramani and Mridula Bhatkar, which heard the appeal filed by Dilip Kamble, resident of village Wajare in Kolhapur district, held that it was a culpable homicide, but not a murder.
"Evidence shows that both parties had worked themselves into fury on account of altercation....The appellant was not pre-armed with a weapon but he took kerosene which was available in the house and poured it on Kalpana (the wife) and set her on fire. There was no pre-meditation or pre-planning... The incident had occurred on the spur of the moment in a fit of anger," the judges said.
Further, the court noted that victim sustained only 40 per cent burn injuries, which "shows that the appellant did not act in a cruel or unusual manner".
The trial court had awarded Kamble a life term for the murder. But, under the India Penal Code, a culpable homicide is not a murder if it is `committed without premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted upon in a cruel or unusual manner`, the judges pointed out.
The couple married in June 2007. According to the prosecution, Kamble had become liquor addict after the marriage.
Sometime in 2009, Kalpana suffered a stroke of epilepsy and was taken to hospital in ambulance. Later, the ambulance owner`s son visited their house to recover charges, which Kalpana paid.
This led to a quarrel. On January 11, 2009, Dilip, in the course of the quarrel, set her on fire. She died in hospital.