SC relief for man after 16-year in jail for killing sister-in-law
He spent 16 years behind the bars for killing his wife's widowed sister but the Supreme Court has now ruled that he had no intention to murder the woman he was treating as his spouse.
Madanayya will now walk out from a Maharashtra jail.
He desired to have equal number of children with the woman as he had with his legally wedded spouse but the two children born out of their relationship did not survive.
The convict regularly beat up the woman, holding her responsible for the death of the two children, and that resulted in her death in the intervening night of August 23- 24, 2001.
The man was sentenced to life term for murder by a Gadchiroli court, which was upheld by the Bombay High Court.
He appealed to the Supreme Court which discussed the entire story and held that the death of the woman, who was staying together with Madanayya's family after the demise of her husband, cannot be brought under the offence of murder as there was no intention to kill her.
He has already served a jail term of more than the maximum of 10 years awarded for the offence of unintentional killing as held by the apex court bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and Deepak Gupta.
The convict was living with his wife at his in-laws house where the woman had returned after the death of her husband.
During their stay under the same roof, both of them had developed a relationship and his conviction was based on the testimony of his wife. The apex court noted that the prosecution's story was fully supported by the statement of the man's wife and there was no reason that she would falsely implicate her husband.
"The story of the prosecution is fully supported by the wife of the accused. There is no reason why she should falsely implicate her husband in the death of her sister," it said.
His wife had testified before the court that her sister had told her in August 2001 that she was beaten up by the man and on the same day, she succumbed to the injuries. The apex court said though the victim had died due to the injuries caused to her by the man, "none of the injuries by itself was sufficient for causing death".
"The postmortem report also shows that she died within a couple of hours after partaking a heavy meal. In this view of the matter, it is difficult to impute the intention to kill to the appellant," the bench said while altering his conviction.
"As the appellant has been behind bars for sixteen years, in our view, this is sufficient punishment for his crime and therefore, we reduce the sentence after altering the sentence as aforesaid to the period of incarceration already undergone by the appellant-accused. He shall be released forthwith unless wanted in any other case," the apex court said.