5 December 2022

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has set free a man facing the gallows upon concurrent conviction and sentence by an Uttar Pradesh trial court and the Allahabad High Court which had found him guilty of butchering his wife and four minor daughters aged between seven years and 1.5 months in 2010.

The man wanted to marry another woman but this was objected to by his wife . The Lakhimpur Kheri trial court as well as the HC found that the man had gotten engaged to his lover. But his second marriage was aborted as he got arrested in another criminal case. Finally, he eliminated the wife and four minor daughters when they were asleep and cooked up a story that four unknown men killed them. On evaluating the evidence afresh, the SC bench of Chief Justice UU Lalit, SR Bhat, and J B Pardiwala on Thursday said that though the needle of suspicion could be on the man, mere suspicion based on conjectures and inadequate evidence could not be grounds for conviction.

killing wife, 4 daughters
killing wife, 4 daughters

The bench also faulted the legal acumen of the legal aid counsel in conducting a shoddy defense and advised the district judges to ensure that in serious crimes, in which poor men are accused, it would make efforts to provide senior counsel under legal aid at state cost to defend the accused.

Writing the judgment, Justice Pardiwala said, ” Realities or truth apart, the fundamental and basic presumption in the administration of criminal law and justice delivery system is the innocence of the alleged accused and till the charges are proved beyond a reasonable doubt on the basis of clear, cogent, credible or unimpeachable evidence, the question of indicting or punishing an accused does not arise, merely carried away by heinous nature of the crime or the gruesome manner in which it was found to have been committed. ” ” Though the fence is gruesome and revolts the human conscience, an accused can be convicted only on legal evidence, ” he said.

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