Author : Ishita Arora
Citation: AIR 1983 SC 629
Bench: Justice D. Desai and Justice O. C. Reddy.
In the case of Amruta v State of Maharashtra, a Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Indian Constitution was filed by the appellant (Amruta) against the order of conviction and sentence of death made by the High court for committing the murders of his wife, Janabai and daughter, Shashikala. The Supreme Court held that sexual jealousy and injured vanity often combine together to furnish powerful motive for murder, particularly among rustic rural folk. The court also held that the court cannot depart from the rule of normal punishment and impose the sentence of death under normal circumstances.
Facts of the case
The facts of the Amruta v State of Maharashtra states that there were frequent quarrels between Amruta, the appellant and his wife, Janabai for the last one and a half years, as the appellant suspected her chastity. About two weeks before the occurrence, Janabai with her daughter, had gone to the house of her parents and was staying with them.
On June 28, 1981, Janabai and Shashikala were at the field of one of her relatives to reap Jowar crop in the field. Her relative Parubai, a young girl about 12 years was also with them. Amruta also came there and asked Janabai to go with him for some work.
Janabai and Shashikala went with him. Then, parubai heard the cries of Shashikala. She ran towards the place from where the sound was coming. She saw Janabai lying on the ground and also saw Amruta delivering a blow on the head of Shashikala with an axe. When she tried to raise her vioce, Amruta threatened her, so she ran away. When she reached the Durgah, she saw Syed Abbas there and told him about the murder. She then ran towards her home and informed everyone. Her uncle Nana reported the occurrence to the Police.
Issues and facts of law
1. Whether the present Special Leave Petition is maintainable before the Supreme Court of India?
2. Whether Parubai is a truthful witness and that her evidence is worthy of acceptance without hesitation?
3. Whether the appellant can be sentenced to death for committing the murder of his wife and daughter?
The Supreme Court was satisfied that Parubai is a truthful witness as there is no reason as to why she should be disbelieved. Her evidence has also been fully corroborated by the evidence of Syed Abbas, who was informed by her about the occurrence within almost a few seconds. Hence, the conviction for murder was confirmed. However, the court ruled that there are no sufficient grounds for departing from the rule of normal punishment and imposing the sentence of death. Hence, Supreme Court allowed the appeal and set aside the sentence of death and substituted the sentence of death by imprisonment for life.