On 25th April 2006, the sessions court in Bhiwani, Haryana, India had convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment Prem Kumar Gulati, his wife Bimla and Mahender Kumar Gulati for the murder of Rajani who, according to the prosecution, was set ablaze on 9th December 2003. Later, she succumbed to the burns.
In this case, the victim, Rajani, in her dying declaration, had accused her husband Mahender Kumar Gulati, his elder brother Prem Kumar Gulati and Prem Kumar’s wife of constantly harassing her and then setting her ablaze after pouring kerosene oil over her at their house in Haryana’s Bhiwani district.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court confirmed the sentence, and the criminal appeals filed by the two brothers have been pending in the apex court. Since Bimla had died during the pendency of the trio’s appeal in the high court, the case against her has abated.
Justice Markandeya Katju of the Supreme Court on Monday observed that no mercy should be shown to the people behind dowry deaths, adding that they should be hanged. The Supreme Court Bench comprising Justices Markandeya Katju and Deepak Verma observed, “In India, hundreds of innocent women are being burnt to death. It is an uncivilised act. How can we do it? We should hang such persons.”
The Supreme Court Bench wanted to issue notice to the accused Prem Gulati as to why life imprisonment should not be enhanced to death sentence. “We will issue notice as to why the punishment should not be enhanced to death,” the Bench told the counsel, but later advised him to move some other Bench for securing bail to the convict.