The Supreme Court observed that intention of accused in an attempt to murder case (Section 307 IPC) has to be ascertained from actual injuries caused and severity of blows inflicted.

The court set aside the conviction of two men in an attempt to murder case on the ground that the injuries are found to be simple in nature and that there is no allegation of repeated or severe blows being inflicted. They have been convicted under Section 323 and 324 IPC instead. The Court partly allowed their appeal against the judgment of the Madras High Court that had upheld their conviction under Section 307 IPC.

The two-Judge Bench comprising Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah said, “Having considered the facts and circumstances of the case and submissions of learned counsel for the parties, this Court is convinced that the Impugned Judgment of the High Court requires to be interfered with. Admittedly, there is no allegation of repeated or severe blows having been inflicted. Even the injuries on PW1 and PW2 have been found to be simple in nature, which is an additional point in the appellants’ favour.”

Advocate M.P. Parthiban represented the convicts/appellants while Advocate Joseph Aristotle S. represented the respondent/State.

Brief Facts -

The convicts along with three others were named by the Complainant in First Information Report (FIR) under Sections 294(b), 323, 324, 452, and 307 read with 109 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) accusing them of a conspiracy to cause the death of the complainant. Upon trial, the accused nos. 1, 2, and 5 were acquitted and the appellants (convicts), who were accused nos. 3 and 4 were convicted under Section 307 of IPC and sentenced to 10 years’ Rigorous Imprisonment and fined Rs. 1000/- each. The appeal preferred by the said convicts before the High Court did not succeed in full, and only resulted in the sentence of rigorous imprisonment being reduced from 10 years to 5 years. This gave rise to the appeal before the Apex Court.

The Supreme Court in view of the facts and circumstances of the case observed, “In State of Madhya Pradesh v Saleem, (2005) 5 SCC 554, the Court held that to sustain a conviction under Section 307, IPC, it was not necessary that a bodily injury capable of resulting in death should have been inflicted. As such, non-conviction under Section 307, IPC on the premise only that simple injury was inflicted does not follow as a matter of course. In the same judgment, it was pointed out that ‘…The court has to see whether the act, irrespective of its result, was done with the intention or knowledge and under circumstances mentioned in the section.”

The Court added that the position that because a fatal injury was not sustained alone does not dislodge Section 307, IPC conviction has been reiterated in Jage Ram v. State of Haryana, (2015) 11 SCC 366 and State of Madhya Pradesh v. Kanha, (2019) 3 SCC 605 and yet, in these cases, it was observed that while grievous or life-threatening injury was not necessary to maintain a conviction under Section 307, IPC, “The intention of the accused can be ascertained from the actual injury, if any, as well as from surrounding circumstances. Among other things, the nature of the weapon used and the severity of the blows inflicted can be considered to infer intent.”

The Court agreed with the counsel for the appellants that only offences under Sections 323 and 324 of the IPC can be made out and hence, the conviction under Section 307 of the IPC is unsustainable.

Accordingly, the Supreme Court disposed of the appeal, modified the conviction under Sections 323 and 324 of IPC, and reduced the sentence to the period already undergone.

Cause Title- Sivamani and Anr. v. State represented by Inspector of Police (Neutral Citation: 2023 INSC 1027)

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