A two-judge Bench of Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice Hrishikesh Roy has modified conviction and reduced the sentence of an accused charged under the provisions of IPC for allegedly killing a person for stealing a pigeon of the accused.
"It was not a premeditated one and as there was no intention on the part of the appellant and coaccused either to cause death or cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death", observed the Court
An appeal was preferred before the Supreme Court against the judgment passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court at Chandigarh which had modified the conviction of the accused from Section 302 IPC to Section 304 Part I read with Section 34 IPC and sentenced the accused to 12 years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10,000. The conviction under section 201 IPC of the accused was maintained by the High Court.
In this case, the Appellant-Accused and the other co-accused were charged for allegedly killing the deceased for stealing the Appellant's pigeon. All three of them were involved in a fight due to which the co-accused gave the deceased a blow with his rod on the head of the deceased, which led to his death. It was alleged that both the Accused threw the dead body of the deceased in a minor canal.
The High Court found that the fight had taken place in the heat of passion, upon a sudden quarrel and was not a pre-meditated act. The Court had therefore modified the conviction of both the Appellant-Accused and co-accused.
The Appellant contended before the Supreme Court that the Appellant-Accused did not intend to kill the deceased and all three of them had consumed liquor. The sudden quarrel between them took place in the heat of passion and was not pre-meditated. The Appellant argued that the reasoning assigned by the High Court itself High Court ought to have modified the conviction to Section 304 IPC Part II from Section 304 IPC Part I as ordered.
On the other hand, the Respondent contended that the High Court had already shown sufficient leniency to Appellant-Accused and there no reasons to interfere with the impugned judgment.
The apex court after considering the contentions of the parties at length observed that there was no intention of the Appellant-Accused to kill the deceased.
The Bench opined that the scuffle had taken place on the spur of the moment and in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel.
"It was not a premeditated one and as there was no intention on the part of the appellant and coaccused either to cause death or cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, the High Court ought not to have convicted the appellant for the offence under Section 304 PartI IPC," the Court asserted.
"In absence of any intention on the part of the appellant, we are of the view that it is a clear case where the conviction of the appellant is to be modified to one under Section 304 PartII IPC by maintaining the conviction for the offence under Section 201 IPC," the Court held.
Accordingly, the Court allowed the appeals in part and modified the conviction of the Appellant to one under Section 304 IPC Part II while sentencing him to rigorous imprisonment of seven years along with a fine of Rs. 10,000. However, the Court maintained the conviction of the Appellant under section 201 IPC and the sentence of three years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 500.