HC jails and frees man at same time
7 Dec 2008, 0254 hrs IST, TNN
HYDERABAD: In an unprecedented incident, the case of an Adilabad man charged with harassment for dowry and murder of his wife was heard by two
division Benches of the A P High Court almost concurrently. And while one of the Benches pronounced him guilty on both the counts, the second one acquitted him on the charge of murder and ordered that he be set free immediately.
The bizarre saga began when one Abdul Raheem went to the Bhainsa police station in Adilabad district on April 13, 2003, and lodged a complaint against his son-in-law, Hymad Pasha, accusing him of killing his daughter Rayeesa Begum. "I gave him my daughter, Rs 15,000 cash as dowry, some gold ornaments and household articles and performed the marriage on April 17, 2000," the father said in his complaint. But 15 days into the marriage, Hymad started harassing his wife to bring in more dowry. Two more demands of Rs 3,000 were met while the third one for Rs 10,000 could not be.
On April 13, 2003, the father said he received a call from the house of Hymad that Rayeesa was dead. After the inquest was over, a post mortem was conducted and Hymad was charged with dowry harassment and murder of his wife.
The trial court in Adilabad, after examination of the evidence on record, both oral and documentary, held Hymad responsible for the death of his wife and in 2006, sentenced him to life imprisonment for murder along with Rs 1,000 as fine and imposed another three years imprisonment plus Rs 500 fine for harassing his wife for additional dowry.
The accused has been serving prison term since then. Meanwhile, the relatives of Hymad approached S Surendar Reddy, a lawyer in Hyderabad and through him, got a criminal appeal filed in 2006 in the AP High Court against the judgment of the trial court. Around the same time, Hymad too wrote a letter to the authorities of the high court seeking their help in engaging the services of an advocate for preferring an appeal over the trial court verdict. The high court, through its legal aid wing, allotted lady advocate Shanti Neelam to argue his case.
The criminal appeal by Hymad's relatives went to a two-member division bench comprising Justice A Gopal Reddy and Justice B Seshasayana Reddy while Hymad's own appeal went to another two two-member bench comprising Justice D S R Verma and Justice K C Bhanu. The judgment on the appeal by relatives holding the accused guilty on both counts was delivered on March 7, 2008, while the verdict on Hymad's appeal acquitting him on the charge of murder was given on September 29, 2008.
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I presume High Court only reviews any judgement of a lower court when an appeal is filed. If I am correct in my thinking, here same judgement of lower court was reviewed by two different benches in the same High Court. I cannot say anything further lest I am charged with contempt of courts.