No Certainty Of Appeal Being Finally Decided: Calcutta HC Suspends Sentence Of Woman Convicted For Killing Her Minor Step-Daughter
The Calcutta High Court has suspended the sentence of a woman who was convicted of murdering her six-year-old minor step-daughter saying that there is no certainty of the appeal being finally decided at an early date.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Arijit Banerjee and Justice Apurba Sinha Ray said, “Keeping in mind the above position of law and that there is no certainty of the appeal being finally decided at an early date in view of the large number of cases pending, and also on an overall appreciation and assimilation of the nature and quality of the evidence on record, we deem it appropriate to suspend the sentence of imprisonment and fine imposed on the applicant by the learned trial Court and grant bail to the applicant”
The Bench noted that no one will be able to compensate the applicant for the time lost in jail by reason of conviction for a crime that she has not committed.
Advocate Phiroze Edulji represented the applicant/appellant while Advocate Sudip Ghosh represented the State.
In this case, an appeal was filed by the appellant against the judgment passed by the Additional Sessions Judge convicting her for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the IPC. The appellant was sentenced to suffer life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs. 10,000/-.
The appellant prayed for the suspension of her sentence and grant of bail pending disposal of the appeal which was filed by her. As per the prosecution case, the appellant gave her 6-year-old step-daughter sweets laced with poison. The girl ate such sweets, fell ill, and started vomiting as a result of which she was taken to the hospital where she died.
The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel held, “Having considered the evidence on record and the judgment under appeal, in our view, this is not a case where it can be said that the appellant/applicant has absolutely no chance of succeeding at the final hearing of the appeal. Since the appeal is pending, her conviction has not attained finality. She has spent about six and a half years in incarceration. Nobody can say with any certainty when the appeal will be finally decided. If the appeal succeeds at whatever future point of time, indeed, no one will be able to compensate the applicant for the time lost in jail by reason of conviction for a crime that she has not committed.”
The Court directed the appellant to furnish a bail bond of Rs. 10,000/- and to not leave the jurisdiction of the police station within which she will reside. It further ordered that she will report to the officer-in-charge of the said police station once every month, by the 7th day of the month.
“She will attend each and every hearing of the appeal when the appeal is taken up for hearing”, also directed the Court.
Accordingly, the Court suspended sentence of the appellant.
Cause Title- Naju Bibi @ Narjina Bibi v. The State of West Bengal