SC upholds life sentence for man who killed kids to remarry

A Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur also said "sexual instinct" in a man can be active even in the age of 30-80 years and rejected the argument of the accused that he had no intention to re-marry as alleged by the prosecution.

"Sexual instinct is active in a man between 30-80 years. Mr Ram Jethmalani is an experienced man, he knows it,"Justice Katju, heading the Bench, remarked as the court burst into a laughter. The senior counsel was sitting in the court hall at that time.

The apex court made the observations while dismissing the appeal filed by Sanju Kalagowda Patil challenging the life sentence imposed by the Karnataka High Court in 2003. The High Court had imposed the life sentence on Patil after reversing the acquittal order of the sessions court in Belagum.

According to the prosecution, Patil had taken his two sons Sameer (5) and Sushant(1) to the local well where he dumped them. The reason was that nobody was willing to give him a girl for his remarriage as he had two children.

His first wife Ranjana died in 1997 and the two children were born to her.
The prosecution alleged that after the death of Ranjana, the children were staying with her father Appasab Chowgulue. But Patil took the children from the custody of his father-in-law on the pretext of taking the children to an outing and committed the heinous offence. 

Though the sessions court had acquitted him of the charge, the High Court, on re-evaluation of evidence, convicted and sentenced him to life imprisonment. Aggrieved, he appealed in the apex court claiming there was no direct evidence and that he had no intention to re-marry.

However, the argument failed to convince the Bench. Speaking for the Bench, Justice Katju said "In India, a man has sex after marriage. So, you wanted to re-marry. For that, you killed your two children as they were stumbling block."

Counsel for Karnataka government K Sanjay Hegde supported the life sentence saying the accused deserved the punishment as he showed scant regard for the life of even an infant.

The Bench rejected the argument of the accused that the children had slipped into the well while they were sleeping.

"How can a one-year old child walk upto 800 feet and then slip into a well? Can you ever imagine that a one-year-old child can even properly stand up or walk?" the Bench said.
The Bench also brushed aside the argument of the accused that he cannot be convicted on mere circumstantial evidence.

"There may be no direct evidence. But people have been even hanged on circumstantial evidence," the Bench said while dismissing the appeal.

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