7 Feb 2010

Mother can also kill son: Supreme Court

Dismissing the passionate plea of the counsel defending a mother convicted for the murder of her own son, the Supreme Court in a recent decision has held that there was no basis to set aside the conviction which has been based on circumstantial evidence. It was argued that the appellant was "the mother of the deceased child and it is not possible for a mother to possibly kill her own child". However the Supreme Court, which quoted Washington Irving's famous lines on the relationship between mother and child was not convinced. 

The Supreme Court recorded its reasoning as under;

21) Motherhood is one of the most precious gifts endowed upon mankind and there is no relationship more pristine and pure than that of a mother and her child. No mother in normal circumstances can tolerate even a scratch on the body of her child. Basic instinct of a mother is well explained by a well known author Washington Irving in one of his books, wherein he has said, that, “a father may turn his back on his child; brothers and sisters may become inveterate enemies; husbands may desert their wives, and wives their husbands. But a mother’s love endures through all; in good repute; in bad repute, in the face of the world’s condemnation, a mother still loves on, and still hopes that her child may turn from his evil ways, and repent; still she remembers the infant smiles that once filled her bosom with rupture, the merry laugh, the joyful shout of his childhood, the opening promise of his youth; and she can never be brought to think him an unworthy.” In the present case, the appellant was found standing near the dead body of her son with a bloodstained axe in her hand. The normal reaction for any mother would have been to go hysterical and clutch the body of her son. But, what is the reaction of a mother in the present case, as stated by PW-1 and PW-2 in their evidence, who came near the scene of occurrence on hearing the cries of Anita and Sumitra, that the accused tried to flee away from the scene of the crime before being restrained. This kind of reaction and lack of remorse would not have been forthcoming had she been innocent. This unusual reaction to the death of her son who was aged 4 at the time of his death, in no uncertain terms point towards her involvement in the crime. In our view, this is an unusual case and therefore the plea that a mother is not capable of killing her own son, in the absence of any evidence to the contrary cannot be accepted.

The decision quoted Irving thus;

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.

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