New Delhi, India – The Supreme Court of India recently upheld the conviction and life sentence of a man for the murder of his wife by setting her on fire. The division bench of Justices Bela M Trivedi and Ujjal Bhuyan found the act of setting a person on fire to be an act of extreme cruelty falling under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, which prescribes the punishment for the offense of murder.
The appellant had initially been booked for an attempt to murder under Section 307 of the IPC, after he poured kerosene on his wife and set her on fire. Despite the wife being admitted to the ICU to treat her serious burn injuries, she later passed away, leading to the man being booked for the commission of murder.
In her dying declaration, the wife stated that the husband was an alcoholic who used to beat her whenever she refused to give him money for liquor. On the day of the incident, the husband came home in a state of intoxication and demanded money for liquor. When she refused and asked him to go to sleep, he poured kerosene and lit her on fire.
The appellant had argued that his case would fall under Part I of Section 304 IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and not under Section 302 IPC. He claimed no intention to kill his wife and stated that he had tried to extinguish the fire by pouring water over her.
However, the Supreme Court was unmoved by this argument and found no merit in the submission made by the appellant’s counsel, ultimately dismissing the appeal and upholding the appellant’s murder conviction. Senior Advocate M Sirajudeen appeared for the appellant, while Advocate Aditya Singh appeared as an amicus curiae.
The Court ordered the convict to surrender before the jail authorities within four weeks, after his sentence was suspended in 2012, following approximately twelve years in prison.