Mumbai: The Bombay (HC) on Tuesday upheld the conviction & life sentence of a widow, who had killed her newborn daughter 27 years ago, falsely to hide her illicit relationship & the unwanted pregnancy caused eight years after her husband’s death.
The two-member HC division bench, comprising Justices RD Dhanuka & Surendra Tavade, maintained the conviction of Kamlabai Gharat, as the prosecution had demonstrated the chain of conditions against her outside the ambit of reasonable doubt. There was no-one else except the appellant-accused to murder her newborn daughter, the court said. The bench has directed Alibag district & sessions court to secure Gharat’s presence & remand her to prison for serving the rest of the jail term. Conferring to the prosecution, on November 10, 1993, residents of Nhava Sheva in Uran found a newborn girl abandoned nearby Sheva bus stand.
One `person amongst the residents took the infant to his house, where she was provided with the necessary care & food. He informed the matter to local police authorities, who arrested Gharat after finding out that she was pregnant, & suspected her of abandoning the newborn. Initially, the police took Gharat & the infant to the Rural Hospital at Uran & later to Alibag Civil Hospital, where she asphyxiated her child. In 1995, the sessions court sentenced Gharat for murder & sentenced her to life. Nevertheless, she was acquitted of abandoning the child. Later, Gharat moved High Court in an appeal challenging her conviction on several points. The bench on Tuesday dismissed the appeal. It was settled that the prosecution had proved all the circumstances against Gharat such as the abandonment of the child, the proper physical condition of the neonate before her murder, & the fact that the newborn girl was with her ever since they were taken to the Rural Hospital at Uran & later to Alibag Civil Hospital. The bench held that the prosecution had evidenced homicidal death of the child & that there was no one nearby when the infant was killed, except for Gharat. The judges found that there was a reason for Gharat to commit the crime to hide the entire episode of her illicit affair the pregnancy caused 8-years after the death of her husband & birth of the unwanted child.