The Delhi High Court has upheld life imprisonment awarded to a man by a trial court for setting his wife afire for refusing to give him money to buy liquor, saying their three children had testified that he had killed her.
A bench of justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel said the testimonies of the children were sufficient to hold their father guilty of murdering their mother and it refused to interfere with the trial court's decision.
"In any event, the three children have clearly spoken about the incident and the role of the appellant (father) and have not been contradicted at all in their cross-examinations. Their testimonies by themselves are sufficient to bring home the guilt of the appellant for the offence with which he was charged.
"Having carefully examined the entire evidence, this court is not persuaded to come to a conclusion different from that reached by the trial court as far as the guilt of the appellant for the murder of his wife is concerned," the bench said and dismissed the man's appeal against his conviction and life imprisonment.
The high court also noted that though the trial court had imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the man, it had not ordered payment of compensation to the children.
It, therefore, referred the matter to the Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DSLSA) to examine the appropriate compensation that should be paid to the children in terms of the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme.
According to the police, the man had on the afternoon of April 17, 2012, killed his wife, in front of their children by setting her on fire after pouring kerosene on her.
The incident occurred at their residence at Nai Basti, Kishan Ganj here, after the woman refused to give any money to her husband, a habitual drunkard, to purchase liquor, the police had said.
According to the eldest child, his father first beat up his mother, then poured kerosene on her and set her on fire. She succumbed to her injuries on the evening of the same day.