Setting aside the death penalty, the Bombay High Court awarded life imprisonment to a 35-year-old resident of suburban Nalasopara who had stoned his wife and minor daughter to death and later chopped off their heads in July 2011.

A bench of justices V M Kanade and Anuja Prabhudessai sentenced Ayare to life yesterday, saying that he should not be released from prison before 30 years of imprisonment.

The judges observed, "Considering the nature of the crime and the manner in which two helpless victims, one being a minor child, were eliminated, in our considered view, a sentence of life imprisonment, which upon considering the remission, normally works out to a term of 14 years, would be grossly disproportionate and inadequate."

Showing no leniency to Ayare, the court observed, "There can be no doubt that the accused had committed murder of these two helpless victims in a most cruel, inhuman and diabolic manner. Though it is not known as to which of the victims was murdered first, the fact remains that the victim who was murdered at a later point of time had to witness the gruesome murder of the other victim."

"Thus, it is evident that apart from the physical pain caused to the victims, the accused had also subjected the victims to immense mental agony," the Judges said.

The HC was hearing a confirmation petition filed by the Maharashtra government seeking confirmation of death sentence imposed by the trial court.

Ayare was sentenced to death by additional sessions judge S J Kahirnar at Vasai in Thane district on February 13, 2014. As per law, a death sentence awarded by the sessions judge has to be confirmed by the High Court. Also, Ayare had filed an appeal challenging his sentence.

Ayare stayed in a chawl at Bilalpade, Nalasopara (East). According to prosecution, Ayare was suspicious of his wife's character and would often fight with her.

On July 28, 2011, a neighbour called the police and informed them that he had seen blood coming out from Ayare's home. The neighbours also said that they had earlier heard Ayare fight with his wife Sanchita over her character.

On breaking open the door, the police found Sanchita and her daughter lying in a pool of blood. Even Ayare was injured. After killing his family, he had attempted to commit suicide, but his injuries were not serious.

The police discovered that Ayare had initially assaulted his wife and daughter with a stone and then cut off their heads with a knife.

Ayare had pleaded innocence. However, the judges observed that he was present in the same room and still did not raise an alarm.

"He did not report the matter to the police. He did not open the door till he was threatened that the door would be broken open. The wholly unnatural conduct of the accused is also a material circumstance sufficient to draw an adverse inference against the accused and is an indicator of his complicity in the crime," noted the judges.

Also, the medical evidence proved that the injuries on Ayare were self-inflicted and were suicidal in nature.