17 June 2024


Supreme Court

Stalin Versus State represented by the Inspector of Police




When there are definite evidence proving an incident and eye­witness account prove the role of accused, absence of motive does not affect the prosecution case

The original accused has preferred the present appeal dissatisfied with the impugned judgment and order passed by the High Court by which the High Court has dismissed the said appeal and has confirmed the Judgment and Order of conviction and sentence passed by the learned Additional District and Sessions Court, convicting the Appellant.

Present Court is required to consider whether the Appellant herein – the original accused has been rightly convicted for the offence punishable under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) or is to be convicted for any other lesser offence, viz. Section 304 Part II of IPC. Learned counsel appearing on behalf of the Appellant – original accused has vehemently submitted that as it is a case of a single blow, Section 302 of IPC shall not be attracted. It is submitted that, even the so­called motive alleged for the incident is prior to four months of the incident in question and, therefore, the prosecution has failed to establish and prove the motive for the accused to kill the deceased.

There is no hard and fast rule that, in a case of single injury Section 302 of IPC would not be attracted. It depends upon the facts and circumstances of each case. The nature of injury, the part of the body where it is caused, the weapon used in causing such injury are the indicators of the fact whether the accused caused the death of the deceased with an intention of causing death or not. It cannot be laid down as a rule of universal application that, whenever the death occurs on account of a single blow, Section 302 of IPC is ruled out. The fact situation has to be considered in each case, more particularly, under the circumstances narrated, the events which precede will also have a bearing on the issue whether the act by which the death was caused was done with an intention of causing death or knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without intention to cause death. It is the totality of the circumstances which will decide the nature of offence.

As held by present Court in catena of decisions, motive is not an explicit requirement under the IPC, though “motive” may be helpful in proving the case of the prosecution in a case of circumstantial evidence. There are three eye­witnesses to the incident and the prosecution has been successful in proving the case against the accused by examining those three eye­witnesses. Therefore, as rightly observed by the High Court, assuming that the alleged motive is the incident which had taken place prior to four months or the prosecution has failed to prove the motive beyond doubt, the same shall not be fatal to the case of prosecution.

As observed by present Court in the case of Jafel Biswas v. State of West Bengal, the absence of motive does not disperse a prosecution case, if the prosecution succeed in proving the same. The motive is always in the mind of person authoring the incident. Motive not being apparent or not being proved only requires deeper scrutiny of the evidence by the Courts while coming to a conclusion. When there are definite evidence proving an incident and eye­witness account prove the role of accused, absence in proving of the motive by prosecution does not affect the prosecution case.

As per Exception IV to Section 300 of IPC, culpable homicide is not murder, if it is committed without premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken undue advantage and not having acted in a cruel or unusual manner. In the present case, at the place of incident, the beer was being served; all of them who participated in the beer party were friends; the starting of the incident is narrated by P.W.3. In view of totality of the facts and circumstances of the case and that the accused inflicted the blow with a weapon like knife and he inflicted the injury on the deceased on the vital part of the body, it is to be presumed that causing such bodily injury was likely to cause the death. Therefore, the case would fall under Section 304 Part I of the IPC and not under Section 304 Part II of the IPC. The appeal is allowed in part.

Tags : Conviction Sentence Legality

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