17 June 2024


High Court of Delhi





A paper-cutter is a 'deadly weapon' to secure a conviction for committing robbery with an attempt to cause death

The Appellant has filed the present appeal impugning a judgment, whereby he was convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 392/397 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC). The case of the prosecution is that, the Appellant committed the robbery of a mobile phone belonging to the complainant and during this incident, the Appellant used a weapon – a paper cutter. Thereafter, certain public persons apprehended the Appellant and gave him beatings. Consequently, FIR under Sections 397/392 of the IPC was registered with PS Seelam Pur, thus setting criminal law into motion.

The evidence on record clearly establishes that, the Appellant had used the paper cutter for the purposes of robbing the complainant’s mobile phone. There are minor inconsistencies in the testimony of the complainant; however, the same are not material. The learned counsel appearing for the Appellant also did not seriously canvas that, the Appellant was not involved in the incident, as described by the complainant and as found by the Trial Court. In view of the above, the only question that needs to be addressed is whether the use of the paper cutter in committing the robbery would justify the appellant being punished under Section 397 of the IPC.

There is a divergence of opinion in various decisions of this Court as to whether it was necessary to establish that a knife is a deadly weapon. One line of cases follows the view that the question whether a knife is a deadly weapon is to be determined by various factors, including the design of a knife and the manner in which it was used. There was yet another line of cases where this Court had taken a view that a knife of any description is, still, a knife and the same is a deadly weapon. In Phool Kumar v. Delhi Administration, the Supreme Court had observed that the appellant therein had a knife in his hand and “he was, therefore, carrying a deadly weapon open to the view of the victims sufficient to frighten or terrorize them.”.

It is also relevant to refer to the decision of the Supreme Court in Ashfaq v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), wherein the Supreme Court had approved the findings of the Court below that “a knife is equally a deadly weapon, for purposes of Section 394 IPC”.

A paper cutter is also a species of knife as, it has a handle and a blade. Although, it is meant for a specific purpose of cutting paper, there is no denying the fact that its blade is very sharp and is capable of delivering a fatal injury. In the present case, the paper cutter had been placed on the complainant’s neck. Undeniably, a deep cut on the neck – which could be easily inflicted by the said instrument – could be fatal. Indisputably, such an instrument used as a weapon and placed on the neck of a victim is sufficient to terrorize a victim into yielding under fear of an injury. In the given circumstances, this Court is not persuaded to accept that that use of a paper cutter in committing robbery did not invite a punition under Section 397 of the IPC. The appeal is unmerited and is, accordingly, dismissed.

Tags : Robbery Conviction Legality

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