KM Nanavati Vs. State Of Maharashtra On 24 November, 1961


Court :
Supreme Court of India

Brief :
FACTS: Nanavati was a Parsi imam who married English born Sylvia in 1931 they had two sons and a daughter and were settled in Mumbai. Being a naval officer Nanavati spent most of his time away from home and in his absence Sylvia fell in love with his friend Prem Ahuja and wanted to get married to him. But, soon Sylvia learned that Prem has been involved with many other girls as well. As per courts record when Nanavati returned home from one of his assignments he found Sylvia very depressed. On being questioned Sylvia confessed about the affair to her husband which made him very upset. Nanavati dropped his family at the Metro cinema but excused himself. He then went to the naval base collected his pistol and went straight to Prem Ahuja at Ahuja’s residence. Nanavati asked him whether he intended to marry Sylvia and accept their children’s to which Prem replied "Will I marry every woman I sleep with?" Nanavati after hearing this got enraged from his answer. On April 27, 1959 naval officer shot his wife’s lover Prem Ahuja with his service revolver firing him with three shots.

Citation :
1962 AIR SC 605, 1962 SCR Supl. (1) 567

ISSUE:

In the trial, the main argument was on whether Nanavati shot Prem Ahuja in the heat of the moment or whether it was a premeditated murder?

HELD:

The accused Nanavati was charged under Section 302 of IPC, 1860. The trial court convicted him under 304A of IPC and later under an appeal the High Court converted it into Section 302 of IPC. It was held by the Court that the conduct of the accused clearly shows that he was guilty and Court convicted Nanavti under Section 302 of IPC and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Since Nanavati was a patriotic person serving the country with no criminal background and thereafter he surrendered himself willingly to the Police. The Bombay Session Court pronounced him not guilty under Section 302. After Nanavati’s lawyers argued that it was a pure case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. However, the prosecutor Mamie Ahuja who was Prem Ahuja’s sister did not rest and argued in Bombay High Court that the murder was premeditated which lead Nanavati charged guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Nanavati gathered huge support from the public including the Indian Navy and the Parsi Community. Rallies were held on Mumbai streets demanding pardoning of the convicted officer. And when that didn’t seem enough Prem Ahuja’s sister Mamie Ahuja was persuaded on forgiving Nanavati. She gave her consent for his pardon in writing and Nanavati was released after spending three years in jail. After his release, Nanavati with his wife Sylvia and three children shifted to Canada where he died in 2003.

To know more in details, find the enclosed attachment

 

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