Court relies on children's testimony to uphold father's life term
The Delhi High Court has upheld a trial court judgment sentencing a man to life in prison for killing his wife, after taking into consideration the testimony of his children who were witnesses to the murder.
A division bench of Justice Kailash Gambhir and Justice Sunita Gupta, refusing any relief to convict Raj Kumar, held that he had stabbed his wife to kill her and this was an "open and shut case" where every piece of evidence proved his guilt in the commission of the crime.
Raj Kumar was sentenced to life imprisonment by a trial court Dec 2, 2009 for killing his wife in February of the same year. He moved the high court, challenging his conviction and contending he had not killed his wife, and that it was some other person who did so.
However, his three minor children and his wife's sister had seen him stabbing her and also tried to stop him.
The bench, refusing to accept Raj Kumar's contentions, said: "We find no reason that the children of the accused will come forward to falsely implicate their own father even after being deprived of the protective shelter of their mother."
"There is no reason to disbelieve the eye-witness account given by these witnesses, who also remained consistent, firm and coherent in their court depositions," the court added.
During the deposition, Raj Kumar's daughter told the trial court that her father used to suspect her mother's character and for that reason he used to beat her also.
In its recent verdict, the high court also said it was a well-settled principle that while exercising appellate powers, the high court will not set aside the judgment of the trial court unless the appellant (accused) is able to satisfy it that the judgment is "based on wrong appreciation of facts or non consideration of any material piece of evidence or mis-interpretation of any law rendering the judgment as perverse".
The bench also said the trial judge discharges a "very onerous public duty" to see that "no innocent man is punished and no guilty man is able to escape from the clutches of law".
"For arriving at an ultimate decision, the trial judge is required to properly scrutinise, evaluate and analyse the entire evidence and material placed on record and then give its dispassionate and objective findings," the order said.
It further said that the case in hand involves the gruesome murder of a wife at the hands of her husband on the intervening night of Feb 25 and 26, 2009, where they couple was living in a small tenement of one room along with their three children and the wife's sister.
Dismissing the appeal of Raj Kumar, the court said the defence had miserably failed to create any dent in the prosecution case and in fact the case set up by the prosecution remained unchallenged and unimpeachable.
(Posted on 11-01-2014)