Case Brief: Mangesh v. State of Maharashtra

FACTS:

The appellant’s sister, Sandhya had a love affair with Prashant (deceased) which continued for 2-3 years. The appellant was fully aware of the said affair and expressed his displeasure, having had altercations with Prashant (deceased) several times. On 30.4.2003, the appellant saw Prashant (deceased) and his sister Sandhya chatting with each other at about 9.15 p.m. at a short distance from his house. He assaulted Prashant (deceased) with the knife thrice and ran away from the spot. Sandhya called the police jeep passing through the road. The police shifted injured Prashant to hospital and while going to the hospital Prashant made a statement to PSI which was treated to be an FIR under Section 307 IPC. As subsequently, Prashant died, the FIR was converted to one under Section 302 IPC. Prashant made two dying declarations, one to PSI and another to Mr. Prakash, Special Judicial Magistrate to the effect that the appellant had caused knife injuries to him.

After conclusion of the investigation, charge sheet was filed against the appellant under Section 302 IPC. The eye-witnesses including Sandhya did not support the case of the prosecution and they were declared hostile. The trial Court after considering the evidence on record and the arguments made by learned counsel for prosecution as well as the defence, convicted the appellant under Section 302 IPC awarding the life imprisonment and a fine of Rs.1000/- and in default of payment to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for the period of one year. Being aggrieved, the appellant preferred Criminal Appeal No.242/04 which had been dismissed. Hence, this appeal.

ARGUMENTS ON BEHALF OF THE APPELLANT:

The learned counsel made large number of submissions regarding the veracity of the evidence on record; pointed out contradictions in two dying declarations; prosecution case was not supported by any of the eye-witnesses including Sandhya who had called the police jeep which had taken Prashant (deceased) to the hospital; and the panchnama witnesses of the recovery of knife also did not support the case of the prosecution. However, realising the fact that there have been concurrent findings of fact by the two courts, wherein after considering the contentions of the defence in detail the courts have recorded the finding that there was no material contradiction in both the dying declarations and the conviction could be based solely on the said dying declarations, he restricted his case only to the nature of offence. It was submitted that as the act of the appellant had not been pre-meditated and it all happened because of sudden provocation, conviction could be only under Section 304, Part I IPC and not under Section 302 IPC.

DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT:

The Apex Court observed from the medical report that the appellant has not given the knife blow with full force. Otherwise, the depth of the injury would have been more than just “cavity deep”. The fact that the appellant stabbed the deceased twice in the thigh and only once in the chest is indicative of a lack of intention to cause death. Had the appellant intended to kill the deceased, it is unlikely that he would flee from the scene without having inflicted more injuries on the deceased. The meeting of Sandhya and deceased might have been taken by the appellant as temerity. Therefore, it is a clear cut case of loss of self control and in the heat of passion, the appellant caused injuries to Prashant (deceased). By no means, can it be held to be a case of premeditation, opined the Hon’ble Court.

Thus, the facts and circumstances of the case required alteration of conviction of the appellant from Section 302 IPC to Section 304 Part-I IPC and ends of the justice were met by awarding ten years rigorous imprisonment to the appellant.

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