26 May 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Arjun and Ors. v. State of Chhattisgarh

MANU/SC/0153/2017

14.02.2017

Criminal

Intent and knowledge is must for crime to fall under Section 304 Part I of Indian Penal Code

In present case, Trial Court observed that, Appellants acted with common intention to commit murder of deceased and found that, prosecution has proved guilt of Accused beyond reasonable doubt and convicted Appellants under Section 302/34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 and sentenced each of them to undergo imprisonment for life and imposed fine and in default of payment of fine to undergo rigorous imprisonment for two years. Aggrieved by verdict of conviction, Accused-Appellants together filed an appeal and another Accused filed a separate appeal before High Court. High Court affirmed conviction of Appellants and sentence imposed by trial court. Aggrieved by conviction and sentence imposed on them, Appellants filed instant appeals by way of special leave.

Evidence clearly establishes that while deceased and other witnesses were cutting the trees, there was exchange of words which resulted in altercation and during the said altercation, Appellants attacked the deceased. Thus, incident occurred due to a sudden fight which, falls under Exception (4) of Section 300 of Indian Penal Code.

Accused, as per version of PW-6 and eye witness account of other witnesses, had weapons in their hands, but sequence of events that have been narrated by witnesses only show that, weapons were used during altercation in a sudden fight and there was no pre-meditation. Injuries as reflected in post-mortem report also suggest that Appellants have not taken "undue advantage" or acted in a cruel manner. Therefore, in the fact situation, Exception (4) under Section 300 of Indian Penal Code is attracted. Incident took place in a sudden fight as such Appellants are entitled to the benefit under Section 300, Exception (4) of Indian Penal Code.

When and if there is intent and knowledge, then same would be a case of Section 304 Part I of Indian Penal Code and if it is only a case of knowledge and not intention to cause murder and bodily injury, then same would be a case of Section 304 Part II Indian Penal Code. Injuries/incised wound caused on the head i.e. right parietal region and right temporal region and also occipital region, injuries indicate that the Appellants had intention and knowledge to cause the injuries and thus it would be a case falling under Section 304 Part I of Indian Penal Code. Conviction of Appellants under Section 302 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code is modified under Section 304 Part I Indian Penal Code. As per Jail Custody Certificates on record, Appellants have served 9 years 3 months and 13 days as on 2nd March, 2016, which means as on date Appellants have served 9 years 11 months. On account of facts and circumstances in which offence has been committed, for the modified conviction under Section 304 Part I of Indian Penal Code, sentence is modified to that of period already undergone. Conviction of Appellants under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code is modified as conviction under Section 304 Part I of Indian Penal Code and sentence is reduced to the period already undergone and these appeals are partly allowed accordingly.

Relevant

Surinder Kumar v. Union Territory of Chandigarh  MANU/SC/0589/1989
: (1989) 2 SCC 217

Tags : Conviction Sentence modification

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