Observing that two brothers killed their step-uncle following a dispute over water with "specific intention", the Bombay high court (HC) has enhanced the duo's sentence to life imprisonment.
A division bench of justices KU Chandiwal and VM Deshpande of the Aurangabad bench of the HC enhanced the sentences of Nasibkha Shabbir Khan, 22 and Asifkha Shabbir Khan, 24, who had stabbed their step-uncle, Sardarkha Khan, to death in 2010.
The HC was hearing an appeal filed by the brothers challenging their conviction by the sessions court. The state government had also filed an appeal challenging acquittal of the other three accused in the case.
Also, Sardarkha's brother Kalekha Khan had filed an appeal through advocate Jivan Patil seeking enhancement of the sentences of the brothers.
Additional public prosecutor GK Naik-Thigale said that the convicts had asked another step-uncle, Kalekha, if they could use water from the well for two days. When Kalekha refused, a verbal duel ensued. Sardarkha intervened and stopped the fight. Following Sardarkha's intervention, the brothers left the place. However, they returned after ten minutes and caught hold of Sardarkha and stabbed him to death with a knife, claimed the prosecution.
Defence counsel Joydeep Chatterjee argued that the brothers were wrongly convicted by the sessions judge. He also argued that in the eventuality of the HC upholding their conviction, the sentences be reduced to seven years.
While sentencing them to life imprisonment, the judges observed: "This clearly establishes that the accused returned to the spot with a specific intention. On reaching the spot, they immediately caught Mr Sardarkha and gave a knife blow,"
The sessions court had found the brothers guilty and sentenced them to 10 years of imprisonment for culpable homicide under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The sessions judge observed that the brothers had attacked their step-uncle in the heat of the moment and there was no intention to kill.
The HC, however, disagreed with the sessions court order and set aside the conviction under culpable homicide and held them guilty for murder under section 302 of the IPC. The judges then enhanced their sentence from 10 years to life imprisonment.