Accepting circumstantial evidence, the Bombay high court has confirmed life sentence awarded to a 31-year-old woman for killing a one-a-half year old child of her neighbour.
A bench of justice PV Hardas and justice GS Kulkarni found Sunanda Gaikwad, a resident of Shirur Taluka in Pune district, guilty of murder and dismissed an appeal against a lower court order convicting her for the murder of 18-month Asrin.
The body of Asrin was found by Sunanda's husband Anil in the attic of the bathroom in his house on August 9, 1992. On entering the bathroom, he saw blood trickling down from the loft. Anil found the body kept in a bag placed in the loft.
He then confronted his wife Sunanda who admitted to have killed Asrin, saying she was fed up with the child as the latter always cried after coming to their house to play with their son. Anil informed the parents of the deceased and they lodged a complaint with police.
The post mortem of the body revealed that the child was strangulated and also hit with a sharp object on the head.
The court noted that for some reason the appellant (Sunanda) used to be annoyed on account of the children quarrelling amongst themselves. The appellant, it appears, had an issue with Aziz and Rehana, parents of the deceased and had been constantly quarreling with them.
"The evidence relating to motive, therefore, in our opinion, cannot be classified as a weak evidence", the bench further observed in their order on December 4.
"As to how a person would react differs from person to person and no straight jacket formula can be laid down as to whether two children quarrelling amongst themselves would be enough to provoke a normal person to commit murder," the Judges said.
"In the present case, it appears that the appellant had some grudge against deceased Asrin. The confession of the appellant is silent on this aspect. Therefore, circumstance of motive, in our opinion, has been established," said the bench.