Mumbai: Observing that it was a serious crime against humanity, the Bombay High Court has upheld a lower court's judgement awarding life imprisonment to a 25-year-old man for sexually harassing his wife and eventually setting her on fire. The mother-in-law of the victim was also convicted and
sentenced to life on charges of murder along with her son.
"The conduct of both the appellants as revealed from the evidence shows that both of them shared the common intention to pour kerosene on the victim, Manisha, and set her on fire", observed justices Sadhna Jadhav and V K Tahilramani.
"Once we come to a conclusion that there was a common intention on the part of both to kill the victim, it is immaterial who actually set Manisha on fire," the judges noted in their order delivered recently.
Manisha, a resident of Belati village in Solapur, in her dying declarations to a Magistrate, family members and doctor, had alleged that her husband, Babasaheb Waghmare, was a sex maniac and used to consume tablets bought from a chemist shop where he was working before having sex with her.
Manisha, who married Babasaheb in December 2004, alleged that her husband used to harass her sexually following which she sustained injuries on her private parts.
The victim said she was harassed by her mother-in-law Parvati Waghmare over domestic chores because of which she left her husband's home and returned to her parents.
However, a reconciliation meeting took place between two families at a gram panchayat on September 18, 2006, and she returned to her husband's home on the same day after her in-laws assured that they would not harass her.
On the very next day, when she was answering nature's call, Manisha alleged that her husband and mother forcibly entered the toilet, poured kerosene on her and torched her as they were angry over the reconciliation meeting.
Manisha was admitted to hospital where she passed away on September 20, 2006.
Solapur sessions judge convicted both and sentenced them to life. The duo challenged the verdict in the high court which upheld the lower court's order and disposed of their petition.