Delhi HC acquits 3 on death row for burning woman



New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday acquitted a man, his son and daughter, all sentenced to death by a Sessions court last year for burning alive his daughter-in-law to corner her property.

A bench of justices Gita Mittal and JR Midha acquitted East Delhi resident Gulbeg Ali, his son Zulfikar Ali and daughter Kumari Mubin Fatima all of whom faced death penalty for setting ablaze victim Shama Parveen in October 2009 in their house.

They were acquitted on the ground that there were discrepancies in the statements associated with the dying declaration of the victim.

The counsel for the trio, Sumeet Verma, said that the high court agreed with his submission that there was contradiction in the statements made by the Investigating Officer, the Sub Divisional Magistrate and that of the victim's husband.

He had also argued before the court that there was no certificate of the doctor that the victim was fit for recording of her statement.

Additional Public Prosecutor in the case, Ritu Gauba, had argued that in such cases, as per the Supreme Court judgements there is no need for a doctor's fitness certificate if the SDM has satisfied himself about the same.

According to the prosecution, the trio were also accused of ill-treating the victim as they did not like her and had on many occasions asked her husband to leave her and remarry as per their wishes.

They were sentenced to death in March 2012 based upon victim's dying declaration in which she had accused them of setting her ablaze.

Gauba said the high court took note of the absence of doctor's certificate that the victim was fit to record her statement before the magistrate. She said the prosecution would go in appeal against the verdict.

As per the prosecution, the victim was set ablaze by her in-laws during the wee hours of October 22, 2009 and she was rushed to the hospital with 97 burns.

According to the police they had received a call from the woman that the accused persons were fighting with her and her husband was out for work, but when they reached her residence the cops found her engulfed in flames.

The prosecution also said that the following day, her statement was recorded by the SDM. She had died a few hours later.

She had told the magistrate that her father-in-law had caught hold of her while her brother-in-law tied her up and her sister-in-law poured kerosene on her and set her on fire.

PTI