Delhi High Court on Thursday upheld the conviction of a man who burnt his wife to death six years ago, largely relying on the testimony of their 12-year-old son.
Maksood Ali, a staff at the LIC’s canteen in Connaught Place, had filed an appeal in the high court against the lower court order. One of his main grounds of defence was that the trial judge had given undue importance to his son Mehboob’s deposition which he termed a “bundle of lies”.
But a bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandrajog made said the child’s deposition in such cases cannot be shrugged off and was crucial.
As per the prosecution case, Ali came back home drunk on the night of June 3, 2002 and picked a fight with his wife Shakeela. He then bolted the door, poured kerosene on her and set her on fire.
Mehboob said he had peeped through the keyhole and seen his parents fighting. He saw his mother rushing out in flames with his father following her sometime later.
Ali argued he could not be convicted as the boy had not seen him light the match. But the court said: “A human mind is very fertile. It connects intervening events not seen by the eye with reference to a preceding and a succeeding events.”
If a child sees his parents fight inside a locked room and moments later his mother walks out in flames, rationale would tell him his father was the culprit, the court said.
“Of course the child could not have seen his mother being set on fire as claimed by him.” But what he saw and what happened later made it clear that his parents were fighting inside the room and seconds later his mother coming out in flames proved the prosecution’s case, the court observed adding, “the child is not lying”.