Bombay HC sets free woman sentenced to life for allegedly killing her 8-year-old son
The body of Shalini Gaikwad’s son was found in a well on March 28, 2018, and Dhad Police in Buldhana district booked her for allegedly killing the child.Updated: Nov 16, 2019 11:17 IST
Bombay High Court has set free a 32-year-old labourer who was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing her eight-year-old son, observing that an accused cannot be held guilty for failing to prove their innocence.
The body of Shalini Gaikwad’s son was found in a well on March 28, 2018, and Dhad Police in Buldhana district booked her for allegedly killing the child.
She was charged with the murder primarily in view of the fact that two days before the murder came to light she had taken the child from his school with her.
On May 29, 2019, the trial court convicted Gaikwad for the murder on the basis of circumstantial evidence, primarily on the basis of the last seen theory.
Her daughter and school authorities had seen her taking the child with her, but she failed to explain as to what happened to the child thereafter.
Gaikwad then moved the high court.
A division bench of justice ZA Haq and justice MG Giratkar reversed Gaikwad’s conviction after noticing that there was no other incriminating evidence against her, except the fact that she had taken the child with her two days before his body was found.
The bench refused to believe in the prosecution case mainly because of the long gap between the last seen together and the finding of the body. It noticed the post mortem report clarified that the child had died within 24 hours of the body’s discovery and about 24 hours after the woman took her son with her.
“Except the evidence that accused had taken the deceased on 26-3-2018 from the school in the morning, there is nothing on record to connect the accused for the offence charged against her,” said the bench.
It also noticed that the woman used to meet her children regularly at school and used to give them sweets and other eatables. It said there was nothing unusual in a mother taking her child with her and refused to hold her guilty on account of failing to explain what happened after she took the child with her.
Gaikwad had left home in May 2017 after frequent quarrels with her husband, who suspected her of having an extra-marital affair, and started residing separately.
They got married 13 years ago and had a daughter and she had a son out of the wedlock.