KHOKAN @ KHOKHAN VISHWAS
STATE OF CHHATTISGARH
Criminal Appeal No. 121 of 2021, Decided On February 11, 2021
JUDGES: DR.DHANANJAYA Y CHANDRACHUD AND M.R. SHAH.
Facts: The facts in brief according to the prosecution story were that, on 08.08.2006 at about 6:30 p.m., the deceased was in the house of his neighbour Devan. At that very time, the Khokan (“accused”) had a quarrel with him regarding money and due to this the accused pushed the deceased down and stood up on his abdomen and crushed. On the very next day, the deceased got admitted in N.M.D.C. Apollo Central Hospital, Bacheli for treatment as he was experiencing severe abdominal pain subsequently, he was referred to Maharani Hospital, Jagdalpur for treatment. During treatment, the deceased died on 11.08.2006.
As per the post mortem report conducted by Dr.(Smt.) J. Gupta (PW-3) the cause of death of the deceased was shock as a result of septicemia caused by injuries in small intestine. The Trial Court convicted the accused for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC after observing and finding that the case would fall under Section 300 IPC and that the murder of Manku Ram committed by the accused does not come under the fourth exception of Section 300 IPC. Accordingly, after holding the accused guilty for the offence punishable under Section 302, IPC, the Trial Court awarded life sentence to the accused. The same was confirmed by the High Court.
Thereafter, being aggrieved with the judgment and order passed by the High Court as well as the judgment and order passed by the learned trial Court convicting the appellant-accused for the offence under Section 302, IPC the Appellant-accused preferred the above noted Appeal before the Supreme Court wherein, the Court modified the sentence to the extent that the conviction of the appellant-accused for the offence was modified to as under Section 304-I, IPC and sentence was reduced to the period already undergone by him i.e., 14.5 years and the rest of the judgment and order passed by the learned trial Court, confirmed by the High Court, was confirmed.
The sole question which arose before the Supreme Court was, whether, in the facts and circumstances of the case, can it be said that the accused committed the murder of the deceased as defined under Section 300 IPC and therefore whether both the courts below rightly convicted the accused for the offence under Section 302 IPC or whether the conviction can be altered to Section 304-I, IPC?
While answering the question, the Supreme Court delved on the proposition that, when the culpable homicide can be said to be the murder and when the culpable homicide is not amounting to murder, and adverted to Section 300 of the IPC.
Where after, considering Section 300 of the IPC, the Supreme Court observed that the said Section is in two parts, and, the first part is when culpable homicide can be said to be the murder and the second part is the exceptions when the culpable homicide is not murder. The relevant part of Section 300 IPC for the purpose of the present case would be clause 4 to Section 300 and exception 4 to Section 300 IPC. As per clause 4 to Section 300 IPC, if the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury, such culpable homicide can be said to be the murder.
However, as per exception 4 to Section 300, 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 or acted in a cruel or unusual manner. As per explanation to exception 4 to Section 300 IPC, it is immaterial in such cases which party offers the provocation or commits the first assault.
Further, with regard to the facts and circumstances of the case, the Supreme Court observed that it cannot be said that there was any intention on the part of the accused of causing bodily injury to the deceased and the bodily injury intended to be inflicted was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.
Moreover, since there was no evidence to show that there was any premeditation on the part of the accused and considering the case of the prosecution as it is and since, there was a sudden quarrel with respect to money and the accused pushed the deceased and stood on the abdomen in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel. Therefore, the case would fall under exception 4 to Section 300 IPC. As per explanation to exception 4 to Section 300 IPC, it is immaterial in such cases which party offers the provocation or commits the first assault. Therefore, both the courts below have materially erred in holding the appellant-accused guilty for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC. Thus, the Supreme Court held that at the most, it can be said that the appellant-accused has committed the offence under Section 304-I IPC.