Delhi High Court in a robbery case has held that even if the weapon of offence is shown after snatching had taken place for running away along with snatched article, an offence under Section 397 IPC i.e robbery is attracted.

A bench of Justice Mukta Gupta was hearing an appeal against a conviction of the Appellant, under section 397 of the IPC.

The facts that led to the conviction of the Appellant are that on 9th January 2015 the Appellant and co-accused committed robbery of a Karbonn mobile phone from the possession of the complainant by showing him a deadly weapon, a blade. The FIR was registered under sections 397, 392, and 34 of the IPC.

The counsel for the Appellant argued that the testimony of the prosecution witnesses had glaring infirmities, which were ignored by the Trial Court. He further contended that the weapon was used after the alleged snatching, therefore the appellant cannot be convicted for the offense punishable under Section 397 IPC. Another contention raised was that the alleged weapon of offense i.e. the blade has not been recovered and in the absence thereof, it cannot be said that it was a deadly weapon.

On the first contention of the accused the Court favored the prosecution and came to a conclusion that there were no infirmities with the prosecution witnesses as such.

On the second contention, the Court observed, "The use of the deadly weapon even while carrying away or attempting to carry away the property obtained by theft, the act of the offender will fall within the four corners of Section 397 IPC."

On the third contention, the Court observed, "It is well settled that whether the weapon of offense is deadly or not, is a question of fact which would depend on the nature of the weapon used in the offense. in the case of a knife, the length of the knife, its sharpness, and the pointed edge have to be seen to ascertain whether the knife is a deadly weapon or not."

The Court then finally observed, "It is not essential that the weapon of offense should be recovered to prove the nature of the weapon used and that a deadly weapon was used at the time of the commission of the offense However prosecution is required to prove the nature of the weapon of offense used especially in the case of knife or blade".

But prosecution in the present case failed to prove the size and sharpness of the blade hence it has failed to prove that the Appellant used a deadly weapon.

Accordingly, the Court modified the conviction of the Appellant from Section 397 to 392 of the IPC and modified the sentence to five years of rigorous imprisonment, and disposed of the appeal.

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