Mumbai crime: Kids’ deposition convicts father in suicide abetment case of their mother

Thane: The deposition of two minor siblings was considered as significant evidence by a Thane court which awarded five years imprisonment to their 45-year-old father for abetting the suicide of his wife. Assistant Sessions Judge S A Sinha held the accused, Sunil Martand Gaikwad, guilty under IPC sections 306 (abetment of suicide) and 498 A (cruelty) while pronouncing the punishment last week. The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 15,000 on him.

The prosecution told the court that Gaikwad, a resident of Gorsai village in Thane’s Bhiwandi taluka, had married the victim, Vaishali, on May 27, 2005. The couple had a son and a daughter, aged 11 and 10 at present. As per the prosecution, the accused would come home late from work after consuming liquor and then fight with his wife. Fed up with the harassment, the woman hanged herself at her home on June 21, 2017, they said.

In their sworn statements in court, the couple’s two children said their father would abuse and beat their mother after consuming liquor. They told the court that on the day of the incident, Gaikwad came home in an inebriated state and abused their mother following which the couple quarrelled. The children then went to sleep. The daughter woke up after some time and saw her mother hanging. She started crying and alerted her brother.

On seeing the woman hanging, Gaikwad ran away from the house leaving the children alone, the siblings told the court. The children then called a neighbour and told them about the incident. The judge considered the children’s statement as significant as they were present in the house at the time of the incident. In case of cruelty by husband, an Indian woman usually refrains from disclosing it to her family members, observed Sinha, adding “It is a dispute between four walls.”  Therefore, in this case, no evidence of independent witness is expected from the prosecution, she said.

A question arises as to why any person would suo motu end his or her life without any reason, the judge said. Moreover, the conduct of the accused in the case shows that he did not make any effort to restrain his wife from committing suicide and did not even take her to a hospital, she said.

He ran away leaving his two children in the house, which proves abetment and instigation from his conduct, the judge observed. Considering the submissions and nature of the offence, it appears that an innocent woman was compelled to end her life and the children are constrained to live without their mother, she noted, while pronouncing the judgement on July 27.

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