09 Feb 2121

Death caused without pre-meditation in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken advantage or acted cruelly or unusually does not amount to an offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 - Supreme Court of India

Case : Pardeshiram v. State of M. P. (Now Chhattisgarh) Criminal Appeal No. 1730 of 2015

Court : Supreme Court of India

Bench : Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice S. Ravindra Bhat

Decided on : 09 Feb 2121

Relevant Statutes

Section 300, 302 and 304 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Brief Facts and Procedural History

1. The deceased Kartik Ram was the uncle of the appellant/accused. The appellant and the deceased had a dispute on agricultural land. The cause of the dispute was the raising of the wall which infuriated the appellant on the refusal of the deceased to raise the wall.

2. The appellant was alleged to have caused the death of the deceased in an incident which occurred on 30.5.2002 at Village Bhardao Para, PS Aurang, District Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

3. A First Information Report was lodged based on the statement of Arjun (PW-1), son of the deceased, in which it was revealed that on the date of the incident, the deceased returned from his field after delivering fertilizer on his Bullock Cart. The deceased was to take another round to deliver fertilizer but in the meantime, the appellant quarrelled with the deceased on the issue of construction of the wall. The dispute was pacified by Jagdish. However, after Jagdish left, the appellant climbed over the Bullock Cart of Kartik Ram and assaulted him with a spade/shovel. The appellant hit the deceased with a stone on his head and as a result, the deceased died.

4. Two of the witnesses examined by the prosecution had turned hostile.

5. The appellant was convicted for an offence under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

6. High Court of Chhattisgarh dismissed the appeal against the judgment of conviction and the order of sentence.

7. The appellant challenged the aforesaid dismissal before the Apex Court. 

Issue of the Case

Whether the appellant is guilty under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860?

The Observations  of the Court

The Honourable Supreme Court observed that:

1. The appellant is an agriculturist, and the shovel is a part of an agricultural tool that is possessed by agriculturists. The appellant was attributed with the first blow with the Shovel followed by a hit with a stone on the head of the deceased which was picked up from the street.

2. The appellant and the deceased belonged to the same family. In the facts and circumstances of the case, it was a case falling under Exception 4 of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The injuries were inflicted without premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken advantage or acted cruelly or unusually. The appellant was liable to be convicted for an offence under Section 304 Part I.

The Decision Held by the Court

The Honourable Supreme Court partly allowed the appeal and held that keeping in view 18 years of custody undergone; the relationship between the appellant and the deceased, and the background in which the injuries were caused, the appellant shall be convicted for an offence under Section 304 Part I of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and sentenced him to the sentence already undergone. He was to be released forthwith, if not wanted in any other case.

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