Giving the benefit of the doubt to a 67-year-old murder convict serving a life sentence, the Bombay High Court reduced his jail term to three years rigourous imprisonment, saying it was an unintentional act.
However, after being out on bail all these years, he will not have to spend three years in prison. A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice R G Ketkar reduced the jail term of Shaikh Umer Hyder Phuleri, a resident of Saki Naka in Andheri. He had killed a truck owner in 1988.
A sessions court sentenced him to life imprisonment in 1992. The prosecution said Phuleri and the deceased, Taimur, often has arguments. Police had initiated externment proceedings against them in 1984.
On April 30, 1988, during one of their fights, Taimur's son ran to call his uncle Shahabuddin. On reaching the spot, Shahabuddin saw a 12-inch knife in Taimur's hand and his brother lying in a pool of blood.
Taimur was taken to Rajawadi Hospital but declared dead on admission. On the basis of a complaint lodged by Shahabuddin, police arrested Phuleri day. Phuleri's advocate Divesh Chamboowala, argued that there were serious discrepancies in the FIR and witness testimonies.
Chamboowala argued that none of the witnesses had actually seen Phuleri stab Taimur, and that it happened on the spur of the moment. He also sought leniency for his client, considering his age.
Additional Public Prosecutor Prajakta Shinde opposed the appeal saying Phuleri was rightly convicted by the sessions court. In its 72-page judgment, the judges have agreed with the defence's claim that Phuleri did not mean to kill Taimur.
Reducing Phuleri's sentence to three years, the HC also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on him.