Techie did not murder wife, but it was culpable homicide: HC

In a partial relief to a software engineer, who was convicted and sentenced to life for murdering his wife 10 years ago, the High Court of Karnataka has said that his act was “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” as it was a result of a fit of rage between the husband and the wife, who was also a software engineer.

While modifying the trial court’s order of convicting him on the charges of murder under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the High Court sentenced him under Section 304 of IPC and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years. 

However, the High Court imposed an exemplary fine of ₹3 lakh on him as against ₹10,000 imposed by the trial court. 

A Division Bench comprising Justice B. Veerappa and Justice S. Rchaish passed the order while partly allowing an appeal filed by convict Siddharth Chowdary, a native of Haryana. He had challenged the 2017 verdict of the trial court in convicting him for the murder. 

Issue of salary

Ruchi had succumbed to injuries from knife in November 2012 in the city following a quarrel with her husband over handing over her salary to him, which was a bone of contention between the couple for some time after their marriage in 2008. 

The incident had occurred in the house in which Ruchi was living with her parents and sister, who were present in the house on the day of the incident. Siddharth, who was working in Delhi, had come on that day.

The High Court, from the oral and medical evidences, came to the conclusion that the 17 injuries inflicted on her body was a result of grappling during scuffle between the duo and not a pre-meditated attack. 

‘Ego reason’

The scuffle took place between the husband and the wife possibly for “ego reasons” as both of them were earning, the High Court said, while pointing out that there was no complaint between the couple since the marriage. 

“…material on record clearly depicts that while scuffling, the convict lost self control and there by an unfortunate incident occurred. The incident occurred due to sudden provocation during quarrelling… and therefore the offence would not fall under Section 302 of the IPC,” the bench observed.

Though there were 17 injuries, one of which turned fatal, the bench said that merely the number of wounds caused by the offender is not decisive as ultimately the incident had occurred due to sudden provocation during which the husband had picked up a knife during heated moment.

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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 12:45:55 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/techie-did-not-murder-wife-but-it-was-culpable-homicide-hc/article65442727.ece