In-laws, including 4 women, get life term for burning woman



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 accused persons.

"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 five.

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 later.

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.

PTI