26 May 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Khuman Singh Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh

MANU/SC/1161/2019

27.08.2019

Criminal

When there was no premeditation on part of Accused and occurrence took place suddenly, offence would fall under Exception 4 to Section 300 of IPC

Present appeal arises out of the judgment passed by the High Court by which the High Court affirmed the conviction of the Appellant-Accused under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and under Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and the sentence of life imprisonment imposed upon him.

The High Court affirmed the conviction of the Appellant-Accused by holding that, mere delay in recording the statement of the witnesses under Section 161 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) is not fatal to the case of prosecution.

In a wordy altercation, the Appellant hit the deceased on his head with an axe due to which, deceased fell down and later succumbed to injuries. On considering the evidence of PWs 1, 2 and 7 who have consistently spoken about the occurrence, the prosecution has proved that, the Appellant caused the injuries on the head of the deceased with an axe.

The entire incident occurred, when the Appellant had taken his buffaloes for grazing in the field of deceased for which the deceased objected and drove all the buffaloes out of his field. It is in these circumstances, the Appellant became furious and abused the deceased and caused injuries on his head in a sudden fight with axe. There was no pre-meditation for the occurrence and because of the grazing of the cattle, in a sudden fight, the occurrence had taken place.

Exception 4 to Section 300 of IPC can be invoked if death is caused: (a) without premeditation; (b) in a sudden fight; (c) without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner; and (d) the fight must have been with the person killed. In the present case, the Appellant-Accused and the deceased exchanged wordy abuses on which, Appellant gave the deceased blows on his head causing six head injuries. Where the occurrence took place suddenly and there was no premeditation on the part of the Accused, it falls under Exception 4 to Section 300 of IPC.

In a sudden fight, the Appellant had inflicted blows on the head of the deceased with an axe which caused six head injuries. Though the weapon used by the Appellant was axe and the injuries were inflicted on the vital part of the body viz. head, knowledge is attributable to the Appellant-Accused that the injuries are likely to cause death. The fact that the occurrence was in a sudden fight, the occurrence would fall under Exception 4 to Section 300 of IPC. The conviction of the Appellant-Accused under Section 302 of IPC is therefore to be modified as conviction under Section 304 Part II IPC.

There is nothing to suggest that, the offence was committed by the Appellant only because the deceased belonged to a Scheduled Caste. In the result, the conviction of the Appellant under Section 3(2)(v) of the Act is set aside and he is acquitted of the said charge. The conviction of the Appellant under Section 302 of IPC is modified as conviction under Section 304 Part II of IPC and is sentenced to undergo imprisonment to the period already undergone. Accordingly, the appeal is partly allowed.

Tags : Conviction Sentence Legality

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