The death sentence handed down to a Chandrapur resident for brutally killing his estranged wife, daughter and mother-in-law in April 2014 was commuted to life imprisonment by the Bombay high court on Monday.
“Although the appellant is guilty of causing death of three members of his family in a brutal manner, the case just falls short of the ‘rarest of rare category,” said the division bench headed by justice Bhushan Gavai.
The bench, however, felt the usual term of 14 years for life imprisonment would be “grossly disproportionate and inadequate,” and therefore ordered that Imdad Ali Waid Ali Sayyad shall not be released before completion of actual imprisonment of 30 years.
According to the prosecution case, relations between Imdad and his wife, Shamshad, had soured, because he kept demanding that the house where the family stayed and which belonged to Shamshad, be transferred in his name. He had left the house, two/three years prior to the incident.
After he left the house, Shamshad married a boy, much younger to her, without obtaining a divorce from Imdad.
In this backdrop, Imdad visited the house on April 2, 2014, and reiterated his demand, when a quarrel erupted between the estranged spouses, he took out a knife and repeatedly stabbed
her. He also assaulted his mother-in-law and daughter who tried to intervene to save Shamshad.
Neighbours and relatives then shifted the injured to civil hospital, Chandrapur, where the mother-daughter duo was declared dead on arrival, and the mother-in-law succumbed to the injuries a few days later.
Imdad was prosecuted for murdering three members of his own family and on December 3, 2015, an additional session judge at Chandrapur held him guilty of the murders and sentenced him to death.
The high court said the possibility cannot be ruled out that volcano of feelings erupted on the day of the incident on account of continuous neglect by the family and humiliation faced in the society because his wife deserted him and began living with a much younger
man. Besides, the high court also took into consideration the fact that Imdad had lost his mental balance and the evidence on record showed that his mental condition was not stable.