HC upholds life sentence of a widow who killed her new born daughter to hide illicit...

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Mumbai. The Bombay high court (HC) on Tuesday upheld the conviction and life sentence of a widow, who had killed her new-born daughter 27 years ago, purportedly to hide her illicit relationship and the unwanted pregnancy caused eight years after her husband’s death.

The two-member HC division bench, comprising Justices RD Dhanuka and Surendra Tavade, upheld the conviction of Kamlabai Gharat, as the prosecution had proved the chain of circumstances against her beyond the shadow of reasonable doubt.

There was nobody else, except the appellant-accused to commit the murder of her new-born daughter, the court said.

The bench has directed Alibag district and sessions court to secure Gharat’s presence and remand her to prison for serving the remainder of the jail term.

According to the prosecution, on November 10, 1993, residents of Nhava Sheva in Uran found a new-born girl abandoned near Sheva bus stand.

One of the residents took the infant to his house, where she was provided with the necessary care and food.

He reported the matter to local police authorities, who arrested Gharat after finding out that she was pregnant, and suspected her of abandoning the new-born.

Initially, the police took Gharat and the infant to the Rural Hospital at Uran and later to Alibag Civil Hospital, where she strangulated her child.

In 1995, the sessions court convicted Gharat for murder and sentenced her to life.

However, she was acquitted of abandoning the child.

Later, Gharat moved HC in an appeal challenging her conviction on various grounds.

The bench on Tuesday dismissed the appeal.

It concluded that the prosecution had proved all the circumstances against Gharat such as the abandonment of the child, the good physical condition of the neonate before her murder, and the fact that the new-born girl was with her ever since they were taken to the Rural Hospital at Uran and later to Alibag Civil Hospital.

The bench held that the prosecution had proved homicidal death of the child and that there was no one around when the infant was killed, except for Gharat.

The judges found that there was a motive for Gharat to commit the crime --- to hide the entire episode of her illicit affair -- the pregnancy caused eight years after the death of her husband and birth of the unwanted child.

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