Supreme Court throws light on circumstances from which intention of accused to cause death of someone can be gathered

Supreme Court throws light on circumstances from which intention of accused to cause death of someone can be gathered

The Supreme Court highlighted circumstances from which the intention of the accused to cause the death of someone can be gathered.

Background 

As per the case of the prosecution, the entire village was celebrating the Mehendi Ceremony on the occasion of the wedding of one Anil. In the ceremony, the entire village participated including the deceased Virendra Singh and the accused Sachendra Singh Rawat. In the night, some altercations took place between the deceased Virendra Singh and the accused Sachendra Singh Rawat. But due to intervention of the villagers, the matter did not proceed further. After the dinner, the accused attacked Virendra Singh by giving him blows by a “Danda/Phakadiyat” – a rough piece of wood, which he was carrying. The blow was on the head of the deceased. Virendra Singh ran towards his house for safety. The accused ran after the deceased with “Phakadiyat” in his hand. The deceased sustained multiple injuries on the head. There was a skull fracture and a frontal wound on the left side. The complainant, who was the wife of the deceased, tried to rescue her husband, but failed. Meanwhile, several blows were given to her husband. The mother-in-law of the complainant, Geeta Devi also came to the rescue of the deceased. Due to grievous injuries, Virendra Singh fell unconscious.

Arguments  

Advocate Virendra Rawat, appearing on behalf of the State, contended that in the facts and circumstances of the case, the High Court has committed a grave error in holding that the murder of the deceased does not amount to culpable homicide.

Advocate Neha Sharma, appearing on behalf of the accused, contended that cogent reasons have been given by the High Court after considering the surrounding circumstances and other considerations that the culpable homicide is not amounting to murder and that the case would fall under Fourth exception to Section 300 IPC. 

She argued that the weapon used by the accused was a “Phakadiyat” which is a rough piece of wood, it cannot be said that there was any premeditation and/or any intention on the part of the accused to kill and/or commit the murder of the deceased. 

Decision 

The division bench of Justice M.R. Shah and Justice B.V. Nagarathna noted that the High Court has erred in observing and/or accepting the case on behalf of the accused that the incident had taken place due to a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel in the mehendi ceremony. 

The court said that the intention to cause death can be gathered generally from a combination of a few or several of the following, among other, circumstances: (i) nature of the weapon used; (ii) whether the weapon was carried by the accused or was picked up from the spot; (iii) whether the blow is aimed at a vital part of the body; (iv) the amount of force employed in causing injury; (v) whether the act was in the course of sudden quarrel or sudden fight or free for all fight; (vi) whether the incident occurs by chance or whether there was any premeditation; (vii) whether there was any prior enmity or whether the deceased was a stranger; (viii) whether there was any grave and sudden provocation, and if so, the cause for such provocation; (ix) whether it was in the heat of passion; (x) whether the person inflicting the injury has taken undue advantage or has acted in a cruel and unusual manner; (xi) whether the accused dealt a single blow or several blows.

The court held that the High Court has committed a grave error in observing that culpable homicide did not amount to murder, by applying exception Fourth to Section 300 IPC. 

The court further held the respondent-accused guilty for the offence under Section 302 IPC for having killed and/or committed the murder of the deceased Virendra Singh and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment.

Case title: The State of Uttarakhand v/s Sachendra Singh Rawat

Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 143 OF 2022

Click here to read the Order/Judgment 

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