'Sudden Fight, No Premeditation': Bombay HC Reduces Life Sentence Of Man For Killing Wife As She Couldn't Cook Meat Properly
The Bombay High Court at Nagpur has reduced the life sentence of a man who killed his wife as she could not cook meat properly. The Court pronounced that the man was not guilty of murder as it was a 'sudden fight' between the two and there was no premeditation.
The Bench of Justice Rohit B. Deo and Justice Urmila Joshi Phalke observed, "Here, in the present case, the facts on record show that there was a sudden quarrel and there was no premeditation. The injuries sustained by the deceased were not on the vital parts of her body. Admittedly, there were six injuries on the person of the deceased which were in the nature of contusions and internal injuries. The weapon like stick was used. The evidence nowhere shows that the accused acted in a cruel manner. The weapon like stick was used in the assault."
In this case, the appellant-accused was in a habit of drinking liquor and used to beat his wife for trifle reasons. On the date of the incident, it was alleged that the informant saw the accused quarreling with his wife and started assaulting her with kicks and fist blows on the count that she had not cooked meat properly and burnt it. After a while, the informant saw the wife lying dead in the shed and approached the Police Station, and lodged the report.
The Court noted that there is no direct evidence in the nature of eyewitnesses and the entire case of the Prosecution rests on circumstantial evidence.
The Court further framed the issue as to whether the case of the accused is covered under exception 4 of Section 300 IPC, for which a sudden fight and sudden quarrel is to be seen from the circumstances.
*Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC covers acts done in a sudden fight. The said exception deals with a case of the prosecution not covered by the first exception, after which its place would have been more appropriate. Exception 4 of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code deals only if there is the heat of passion, the person acts while losing his self-control. It deals with cases in which a blow may have been struck or some provocation given in the origin of the disputes.*
Furthermore, the Court noted that the help of Section 300 Part 4 of the said Section can be invoked if the death is caused, a) without premeditation, b) in a sudden fight, c) without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner, and d) the fight must have been without the person killed.
Thus, the Court observed in the case, there was a sudden quarrel and there was no premeditation and further noted –
"Admittedly, in the present case, the quarrel was taken place on a simple reason that the deceased had not prepared the meat properly and the accused lost his self control and gave a blow of stick on the person of the deceased."
The Court further considered if the case falls under Section 302 IPC or lesser and also the nature of intention for which the kind of weapon used has to be kept in mind.
In this context, the Court noted –
"Admittedly, the accused had not prepared for the assault. When he saw that the deceased had not prepared the food, he abused and assaulted her. The weapon used in the present case is a lethal weapon like stick. In this view of the matter, we find that the appellant had knowledge that injuries could cause death of the deceased. There was an intention on the part of the the accused to cause injuries. However, the accused had not taken undue advantage or has not acted in a cruel or unusual manner. Considering the factual scenario in the background of the position in law, inevitable conclusion is that the act of the accused would cover under exception 4 of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code and, therefore, the case of the accused would cover under Section 304 Part-I of the Indian Penal Code."
Thus, the Court held that no case of acquittal is made out, however, modified the sentence of the accused to Section 304 Part 1 IPC and partly allowed the appeal, and held that the appellant need not undergo imprisonment for life and modified the sentence to ten years.
Cause Title - Suresh Madhukar Shendre v. State of Maharashtra