A lower court at Kollam district which on Monday held a man guilty of killing his wife by getting her bitten by a cobra, was on Wednesday punished with 17 years imprisonment and then followed by a double life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

Suraj was the husband of 25-year-old Uthara who was bitten by a cobra and he heard the verdict remaining motionless.

Kollam additional sessions court judge M. Manoj declared Suraj guilty of the crime and on Wednesday pronounced the sentence.

Reacting to the verdict, Manimeghala, the mother of Uthara said they are disappointed by the verdict as they wished capital punishment for the accused.

"These are the flaws of the judiciary as there are loopholes. People get away using those loopholes. Had the extreme punishment given, it would have acted as a deterrent for others to desist from doing crimes. We will go in appeal," said the grieving mother.

However, Public Prosecutor G. Manoharan said the one reason which went in favour for the accused was the consideration given by the court on his age and a chance for repentance and had no track record of a criminal.

"According to the court, the accused will have to first serve 17 years and then only the double life imprisonment will come into force. So technically speaking unless the government gives the accused a remission, for the rest of his life he will have to be in jail. If an appeal should be made, it will be taken up only after consulting with the government," said the prosecutor.

The incident took place on May 6, 2020.

On May 7, Uthara's mother discovered her body at their house in Anchal, some 70 km from here.

The victim's mother said Uthara and Suraj had gone to their room after dinner. On May 7, Suraj, who was a late riser, woke up early and went out. When Uthara didn't wake up, her mother went to her room and found Uthara lying unconscious.

The snake which was still in the room, was killed by Uthara's parents when they returned home from the hospital after their daughter was declared dead.

On May 24, the police arrested Suraj and his associate Suresh, a professional snake catcher for hatching a conspiracy to use a snake to kill her.

After the police began the probe, they exhumed the cobra carcass that was buried in a pit and sent the carcass for forensic examination.

The probe also revealed that Suraj had apparently made several attempts earlier using snakes to kill Uthara.

Her parents said in the first instance of a snake bite on March 2, Uthara was at her husband's home in Adoor. After recovering from the snake bite, she had shifted to her parental home in Anchal.

According to the police, Suresh had given Suraj the snakes. He first provided a poisonous viper for Rs 10,000. After the first attempt failed, Suresh supplied him a cobra for Rs 10,000.

The one-year-old son of the couple has been handed over to the parents of Uthara.