Sunday, April 2, 2023

SC: Death by a single knife stab can also be a Sec-302 case, no rule that it will be non-intentional

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has observed that it cannot be laid down as a rule of universal application that whenever the death occurs on account of a single blow, Section 302 IPC is ruled out.

The Court was hearing the appeal against the Conviction and sentencing of the accused under Section 302 IPC. It was the contention of the accused that as it is a case of single injury, Section 302 IPC shall not be attracted and the case would fall under Section 304 Part II IPC.

The accused in a case had argued that there are a number of judgments of the Supreme Court which held that death by single stabbing of a knife would not lead to a murder trial under 302, but a section 304 (part one) (non-intentional murder) trial.

A three judge bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, R. Subhash Reddy and Justice M. R. Shah has said that in case of death due to a wound, there is no firm rule that the case will not run under Section 302. It all depends on the circumstances and facts of the case.

The court said that the nature of the wound, its location on the body, the type of weapon, etc. are the factors that indicate whether the accused committed the murder with intent or not. It cannot be established as a general rule that section 302 will not be enforced whenever death occurs due to sharp weapon blows.

“As per Exception IV to Section 300 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, as stated hereinabove. Therefore, in the facts and circumstances, culpable homicide cannot be said to be a murder within the definition of Section 300 IPC and, therefore, in the facts and circumstances of the case narrated hereinabove and the manner in which the incident started in a beer party, we are of the opinion that Section 302 IPC shall not be attracted,”

said the Court

The accused said that no motive of murder has been proved in this case. The court held that the objective crime code has no utility. However, the objective is helpful in a case where there is no direct evidence and the case is based on circumstantial evidence. The court said that the prosecution case would not have deteriorated if it is not proving its purpose, if it is proving it otherwise.

The court said that the motive is always in the mind of the person committing the crime. By examining the evidence deeply the objective is proved. Where there is definite evidence and the statements of eyewitnesses who are proving their involvement in the crime, then the absence of not being able to prove their objective will not affect the prosecution case. However, given the circumstances of the case, the court considered the case under section 304 (part one), not treating it under 302 or 304 (part two).

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This was the case in Tamil Nadu, where the incident happened during a beer party at Friends. All were friends and the incident occurred in a sudden quarrel. The accused has hit the deceased by a knife-like object which hit the delicate part of the body and the friend was killed. The police registered a case under 302 stating that the accused knew that death could be caused by that attack. The Sessions Court and the High Court considered it a murder.

Read teh judgment here;


-India Legal Bureau

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