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A quarrel took place between Laxmichand @ Balbutya, the accused and Gyaniram Mahajan, the deceased, who was in drunken state, at the house of the accused. The appellant-accused asked Gyaniram to go home but he was not acceding to his request. The accused brought Gyaniram from his house on the road by lifting him but he fell down. The accused struck him with a spade on his head. As a result, Gyaniram sustained injury on his head and had become unconscious. The accused proceeded towards the house of one Police Patel. While going there, he made disclosure to some persons that he had killed Gyaniram Mahajan. One Ghanshyam, who was in the employment of Fulchand and who had heard the utterances of the accused to the above effect, informed Tejram who was sitting in the house of Fulchand that the appellant-accused was telling that he had killed Gyaniram. Tejram went towards the Gram Panchayat. The accused was coming from the side of the house of Police Patel. He again made similar utterances and informed Tejram that he had killed Gyaniram and further asked him to scribe a report. Tejram advised him to go to the police station.
Tejram went to the police station and lodged an oral report that he was informed by the accused that he had killed Gyaniram, which was reduced into writing under Section 302 of the IPC. By the time, the accused reached there alongwith spade, he was arrested and the spade was seized. As Gyaniram was unconscious, P.S.I. could not take his statement and then Gyaniram expired.
After the investigation, the charge sheet was sent to the Court of J.M.F.C. Gondia. The J.M.F.C. committed the case under Section 209(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the Court of Sessions for trial of the accused. The charge for the offence under Section 302 I.P.C. was framed against the accused. The Sessions Judge, Gondia acquitted the accused of the charges framed against him. Against the said judgment of acquittal, the State filed an appeal before the High Court of Bombay, Nagpur Bench. The High Court set aside the order of acquittal and convicted the appellant-accused for offence punishable under Section 302 I.P.C. Aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court, the appellant-accused filed the appeal from Jail through the Superintendent, Nagpur Central Prison, Nagpur before this Court.
DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT:
The Hon’ble Court stated that instead of convicting the accused for culpable homicide amounting to murder, his case would fall in the category of culpable homicide not amounting to murder as even according to the prosecution one blow alone was caused by the accused that too in a quarrel and it is clear from the evidence of PWs 3 & 4, eye-witnesses, that prior to the incident, there was a quarrel between the accused and the deceased inside the house of the accused and the deceased consumed liquor and adamant to leave the house of the accused which necessitated the accused to drag him out of his house and inasmuch as the deceased still refused to accede to the request of the accused, he inflicted blow on the head with the spade. As pointed out by the appellant-accused, he had no pre-plan or intention to kill the deceased and his main worry was to get the deceased out of his house, who consumed excessive liquor. Considering all these aspects, particularly, the conduct of the deceased in not leaving the house of the accused, he dragged him out of his house, put him on the road and assaulted him with a spade, it can thus be deduced that the accused has no intention to kill the deceased. It is true that blow given by the accused on the deceased was at the vital part because of which he was unconscious for seven days and ultimately succumbed to his injuries. However, according to the Court, the accused had no intention to commit the offence.
Considering all the materials and reasons, the Apex Court reached to the conclusion that the commission of offence attributed to the accused-appellant would come under Section 304 Part II IPC. The Court also took into note the fact that the incident had occurred in the year 1986 and the accused had no intention to kill the deceased but due to the reasons and circumstances aforementioned, the accused was awarded a sentence of rigorous imprisonment for five years. The accused was also entitled to have the benefit of deduction of the period already undergone.