A 38-year-old woman, who was awarded life imprisonment by trial court for murdering her alcoholic husband, will now have to spend only five years in jail as the Bombay High Court has reduced her sentence after taking into account facts and circumstances.
Roshana Shashikant Gaikwad, a resident of Ulhasnagar town in adjoining Thane district, had poured kerosene on her husband and set him ablaze after he sold a shampoo bottle bought by her to purchase liquor, in 2012.
The HC said it was modifying the punishment looking into the facts and circumstances of the case and also because the crime was committed in a fit of rage by the lady who later tried to save her husband by putting off the fire.
A Kalyan Sessions Court had, on August 31 last year, held Roshana guilty of murdering her husband, Shashikant, and sentenced her to life imprisonment. Being aggrieved, she filed an appeal in the High Court.
"No doubt the evidence on record shows that it was the appellant who set her husband on fire. However, the pivotal question is what is the nature of the offence proved against the appellant?
"It is an admitted fact that the appellant had a quarrel with her husband and, thereafter, she set him on fire. However, immediately after Shashikant caught fire, the appellant tried to extinguish the fire and in the process sustained burn injuries. This conduct cannot be divorced from totality of the circumstances," a Bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and V L Achilya observed in their judgement on April 4.
"The fact that Shashikant had sustained only 61 per cent burn injuries cannot be ignored too. Probably, the appellant would not have anticipated the act done by her would have escalated to such a proportion that Shashikant might die. If the appellant had ever intended Shashikant to die, she would not have immediately made an effort to extinguish the fire," noted the Judges.
"Looking at the circumstances of this case, especially the fact that the appellant is a lady, sentence of five years with a fine amount of Rs 1,000 (whose default will invite RI for one month), meets the end of justice," they said.