Supreme Court on Thursday converted the sentence of appellant under Section 302 IPC (Punishment for Murder) to Part 1 of 304 IPC (Punishment for Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder) in the absence of intention to cause murder.
A bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Indu Malhotra said, “we don’t think that the condition and mandate of third clause of Section 300 of the IPC that the bodily injury intended to be inflicted was sufficient in ordinary cause of nature to cause death has been proved and established beyond doubt”.
Court was hearing the challenge made to the Judgment passed by Punjab and Haryana High Court which had affirmed the conviction of the appellant ‘Satish Kumar’ & one ‘Dhajja Ram’ for Murder of Shamsher Singh under Section 302 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code for which the appellant has been sentenced to imprisonment for life and fine of Rs 10,000/-. Dhajja Ram has not assailed the Judgment passed by the High Court.
Supreme Court considered it appropriate to deal with the primary questions which is whether the conviction of the appellant for Murder under Section 302 IPC is justified and correct, or it should be converted to Section 304 Part 1 of the IPC.
Court noted, “as per the dying declaration of the deceased, the appellant Satish Kumar had given ‘Lathi’ blows on his waist and below the right knee whereas Dhajja Ram has given ‘Lathi’ blow on his thigh/knee of left leg and left hand. The medico-legal report which was prepared before the death does not mention any injury to the head where as Doctor Who done the Post mortem had testified that there was infiltration of blood in the whole brain with clotted blood 80-100 cc Present at the base of skull. There was dislocation of first cervical vertebral joint which caused death”.
“Clearly, therefore, there is inconsistency between the dying declaration, medico-legal Report and the Post mortem Report. Further, cross- examination of Dr R K Nandal exposits contradiction as to whether the injury in question was sufficient to cause death in normal course of nature. Benefit of doubt in view of the ambiguity and contradictions must go to the appellant”, said the Supreme court while converting the Sentence from 302 IPC to 304 Part 1 of IPC.
-India Legal Bureau