The Calcutta High Court altered a conviction from Section 302 IPC (murder) to Section 304 Part-I IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

The Court, after evaluating the circumstances surrounding the incident, acknowledged that the appellant had indeed struck a fatal blow on a vital part of the victim's body with a sharp cutting weapon. However, the Court took into account the inebriated state of the victim and his brother, who had intervened in the domestic dispute between the appellant and his wife.

The appellant was challenging the judgment which convicted him for the offense under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The incident in question occurred in 2005, where the appellant allegedly stabbed the victim, leading to his death.

A Division Bench of Justice Joymalya Bagchi and Justice Apurba Sinha Ray held, “In a fit of passion he struck a single blow. No doubt the blow was struck on a vital part of the body i.e. belly with a sharp cutting weapon but the attending circumstances show the victim and his brother who were inebriated had intervened in a domestic quarrel between the appellant and his wife. Out of rage, the appellant had lost control and struck at the victim. These circumstances persuade me to extend the benefit of exception 4 to Section 300 IPC and I am inclined to convert the conviction of the appellant from Section 302 IPC to Section 304 Part-I IPC.”

Advocate Sandip Datta appeared for the Appellants and Advocate Aditi Shankar Chakraborty appeared for the State.

The prosecution's case is based on the testimony of various witnesses, primarily on the brother of the deceased. According to him a quarrel between the appellant and his wife escalated, and the appellant, in a fit of rage, stabbed both the deceased and him. The appellant's defense argued that the incident happened in the course of a sudden quarrel, and the appellant did not have the intention to commit murder.

The issue before the Court was “Whether conviction under section 302 IPC is justified?”

The Court considered the evidence presented, particularly the testimony of the brother, who identified the weapon used in the crime. The post mortem doctor, confirmed the cause of death as a penetrative stab injury. The Court also noted the recovery of the knife, as stated by witnesses.

The Court addressed the argument that the appellant may not have had the intention to cause death, emphasizing the circumstances of a domestic quarrel where the deceased and his brother intervened. Considering the nature of the quarrel and the appellant's loss of control, the Court decided to alter the conviction from Section 302 IPC (murder) to Section 304 Part-I IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

As a result, the Court modified the sentence, taking into account that the appellant has already served twelve years of incarceration. The appellant was directed to pay a fine of Rs.10,000/-.

Cause Title: Rupesh Lohar v. The State of West Bengal

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