A Bombay High Court Bench of Justice Vibha Kankanwadi and Justice Abhay S Waghwase has upheld the life sentence awarded for an honour killing.

The Court noted that "Going by the story of the prosecution, it is unfolded that instant case seems to be a case of honour crime. There is a blend of honour killing as the girl who died is said to be assaulted by her own relatives."

Upholding the sentence awarded by the Trial Court, the Court said that, "After going through the impugned judgment, we have come across that each and every legal aspects is tested in the light of legal requirements. Evidence of PW3 Mayuri and PW4 Dashrath on the point of occurrence is correctly appreciated and rightly held to be inspiring confidence. Even testimonies of PW1 Somnath and PW2 Vijay are rightly relied to fix identity and responsibility. No perversity or non-appreciation of evidence is brought to our notice so as to interfere."

Senior Counsel RN Dhorde, among others, appeared for the appellant side, while APP SD Ghayal appeared for the respondent-State.

In this case, the appellants were life convicts under Sections 302, 307, read with Section 34 of the IPC, who were assailing the judgment passed by the Sessions Judge.

The alleged assault in question was made when the deceased and another were hospitalized on account of consumption of insecticide.

In this case, the parents of PW4 Dashrath had obtained land from the deceased's parents for yearly cultivation. During this period, a romantic relationship developed between the deceased, Sushma, and PW4 Dashrath. However, their relationship was opposed by Sushma's family, leading to the termination of the cultivation agreement. Prior to the incident, the appellants, who were later accused, physically assaulted PW4 Dashrath, his brother, and parents due to the relationship, but the matter was subsequently resolved amicably.

Despite objections, Sushma and PW4 Dashrath continued their relationship. When Sushma's family began searching for a suitable match for her, Sushma and PW4 Dashrath allegedly met in a field where they consumed insecticide. They were taken to the hospital, where PW3 Mayuri, the sister of PW4 Dashrath arrived to take care of her brother.

The accused-appellants forcefully entered the hospital armed with weapons, including a sword and koytas. They initially attacked PW4 Dashrath in the hospital room where he was undergoing treatment and then proceeded to the compartment where Sushma was admitted. Tragically, they assaulted and killed Sushma.

Following a complaint lodged by PW3 Mayuri, the police registered a criminal case against the appellants. The case proceeded to trial, and eventually, the accused were found guilty and convicted.

On perusal of the medical records, the Court concluded that Sushma had indeed met a homicidal death. Referring to the electronic evidence submitted, the Court also came noted that the prosecution cogently proved the identity of the assailants.

The Court also perused the ocular evidence in detail and subsequently held that, "The manner of cross-examination and suggestions of above three witness i.e. PW3 Mayuri, PW4 Dashrath and PW5 Dhananjay itself shows that there is no serious dispute about the occurrence. PW3 Mayuri and PW4 Dashrath were both knowing appellants since beginning. Therefore, ocular account of PW3 Mayuri and PW4 Dashrath on the point of occurrence deserves to be accepted without hesitation. Reason for admission of PW4 Dashrath and deceased is substantiated by PW5 Dhananjay. PW3 Mayuri, being sister of PW4 and having come to take care, is a natural witness. Therefore, their testimonies do inspire confidence. Hence, for above reasons, there is no hesitation to hold availability of trustworthy, direct and credible eye witness account, which is inspiring confidence."

Subsequently, the appeals were dismissed by the High Court.

Cause Title: Babu v. The State of Maharashtra

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