Mere Exhibition Or Brandishing is Sufficient to constitutes Use of Weapon, Actual Firing Or Stabbing not necessary: SC

The Supreme Court in the case of Ram Ratan v State of Madhya Pradesh ruled that mere Exhibition Or Brandishing of a weapon is sufficient to constitute the use of a weapon, Actual Firing Or Stabbing the same is not necessary.

The complainant, Rajesh Meena alleged that on an intervening night, while he was sleeping in the hut constructed in the field to guard the crops, the appellant along with Raju alias Rajendra and Chotu came to him and woke him up. The said Raju alias Rajendra was having a gun with him and on pointing the same towards the chest of the complainant, demanded to part with the money. The complainant informed that he did not have any money, due to which the key of his motorcycle was snatched and the said Raju alias Rajendra also took out the mobile phone from the pocket of his shirt.

Thereafter, all the three accused persons forced the complainant to sit on the motorcycle along with them. When they reached the village Nanawat, the motorcycle got punctured and therefore all the persons compelled the complainant to get down from the motorcycle and the motorcycle was taken away. By the said time since it was dawn, his uncle named Tulsiram was passing by to milk the buffaloes. The complainant narrated the incident, following which, steps were taken to lodge the complaint. The police have taken action, recovered the motorcycle as well as the mobile phone and apprehended the accused. The police on completing the investigation filed the charge sheet against the appellant for the offences under Sections 392 or 397 of IPC and under Sections 11 or 13 of MPDVPK Act, 1981.

Mr Shishir Kumar Saxena, counsel for the appellant while assailing the judgments would at the outset contend that the complaint lodged by Prosecution Witness and the evidence tendered by him are not sufficient to indicate that the appellant is guilty of the charge alleged against him. It is contended that the appellant has been implicated due to political rivalry, though no such incident as alleged had taken place.

Mr Sunny Choudhary, counsel for the respondent referred to the evidence tendered before the trial court in detail and has pointed out that the trial court as also the High Court has taken note of the said evidence. The charge having been proved, both the Courts have arrived at the conclusion that the contention as put forth by the appellant or his co-accused was not acceptable.

The court noted that the use of the weapon to constitute the offence under Section 397 IPC does not require that the ‘offender’ should actually fire from the firearm or actually stab if it is a knife or a dagger but the mere exhibition of the same, brandishing or holding it openly to threaten and create fear or apprehension in the mind of the victim is sufficient. The other aspect is that if the charge of committing the offence is alleged against all the accused and only one among the ‘offenders’ had used the firearm or deadly weapon, only such of the ‘offender’ who has used the firearm or deadly weapon alone would be liable to be charged under Section 397 IPC.

The Court held that “the judgment  passed by the Special Judge, (MPDVPK Act) insofar it has convicted the appellant under Section 397 IPC read with Sections 11/13 of MPDVPK Act, 1981 and upheld by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh are set aside to that extent.”

The court ruled that “the conviction of the appellant under Section 392 IPC by the trial court and upheld by the High Court, is sustained.”

“The sentence imposed on the appellant is modified to that of the period of imprisonment undergone by him till this day. The fine imposed and default sentence thereof is retained and the appellant is ordered to be set at liberty forthwith if the fine is paid and he is not required to be detained in any other case,” the court held.

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