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Spur Of The Moment: Took Her Immediately To The Hospital: SC Sets Aside Conviction U/s 302 IPC Of A Husband Accused Of Killing Wife

Aditi Rai ,
  01 December 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2038 of 2022

CASE TITLE:
Jai Karan Yadav Vs. State (NCT of Delhi)

DATE OF ORDER:
23 November 2022

JUDGE(S):
A S. Bopanna, J.
Pamidighantam Sri Narasimha, J.

PARTIES:
Appellant- Jai Karan Yadav
Respondent- NCT of Delhi

SUBJECT

‘All murders are culpable homicide but all culpable homicides are not murder.’

There is a very thin line of distinction between culpable homicide amounting to murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The intensity and degree in murder are much higher than in culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Apart from laying down the ingredients of a culpable homicide not amounting to murder in section 299, IPC in Section 300 has provided for exceptions or conditions under which an offence will not be considered murder but culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The five exceptions are-

  1. Grave and sudden provocation
  2. Excess use of private defence
  3. In exercise of legal power
  4. Sudden heat and fight
  5. Consent.

In the present case, the Hon’ble Apex Court, while observing that the accused had committed the murder of his wife in the ‘spur of the moment’ and without any premeditation, set aside his conviction u/s 302 of the Indian Penal Code. The Court held him liable for conviction u/s 304 Part II IPC which deals with the punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

IMPORTANT LEGAL PROVISION

THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

  • Section 302- for murder- death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Section 304 Part II- punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder-
  1. If the act by which death is caused is done with the intention of causing it- Imprisonment for life or 10 years plus fine
  2. If the act is done with knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without intention to cause death- Imprisonment up to a maximum of 10 years or fine or both.

BRIEF FACTS OF THE CASE

  • The appellant in the present case was convicted u/s 302 IPC for murdering his wife by the Trial Court. His conviction was also upheld by the Delhi High Court.
  • The sole eye witness to the alleged incident was the couple’s daughter.
  • According to their daughter, the deceased said something to the accused which agitated him and he started beating her.
  • After struggling for a while to open the door of her house, she reached the spot of the alleged crime where she saw her father all dressed up and carrying her mother to the hospital.
  • However, she died.

ARGUMENTS RAISED BY THE APPELLANT

  • The appellant contended that the murder took place without premeditation in a sudden fight.
  • As such, his case falls within the exceptions to section 300.

LEGAL ISSUE

  • Whether it can be concluded that, if the incident is accepted in the manner in which it had occurred, it was at the spur of the moment?

ANALYSIS BY THE COURT

  • Both the Trial Court and the High Court made a detailed consideration as far as the veracity of the evidence tendered by the child witness and reached the conclusion that the statement giver by her are believable.
  • The facts of the case and the statements given by the child witness indicate that there was no pre meditation, on the part of the accused to murder his wife.
  • The incident occurred at the spur of the moment.
  • The accused soon realized what he had done and took immediate steps to take his wife to the hospital so she can be saved.

CONCLUSION

The Apex Court held that what followed the murder of the deceased should be taken into account as mitigating circumstances. As such his conviction u/s 302 will not be justifiable. The Court modified his conviction u/s 302 IPC to one u/s 304 Part II IPC. It was finally concluded by the Judges that 12 years imprisonment already undergone by the appellant would be a sufficient punishment and directed that he should be set at liberty.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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