The Supreme Court has acquitted of murder charges a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Army accused of killing a boy who was plucking fruits from his defence enclave, and modified the conviction to Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder.
Kandaswamy Ramaraj was convicted under Section 302 IPC by the Trial Court and the same was upheld by the Madras High Court.
In the appeal filed by him, the bench of Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice Aniruddha Bose noted that it was usual for the boys residing in the adjoining colony to enter the prohibited defence area to pluck fruits. It was the prosecution case that the accused had shot the deceased while he was attempting to pluck fruit from the defence enclave.
The bench also noted that a domestic help of the army officer had deposed that he was a short-tempered person, and used to chase the boys who used to jump into thedefence compound to pick almonds. On one occasion, the boys had even damaged the windshield of his car, she had said
To hold that the offence committed by the accused may fall under the first exception to Section 300 of the IPC, the bench observed:
Having perused the evidence on record carefully, and with due regard to the temperament of the appellant during his frequent runins with the children, we are of the opinion that the appellant committed the offence in question whilst he was deprived of the power of self-control upon sudden provocation by the children. In our considered opinion, there was no calculated intention or premeditation on his part to commit the murder of the deceased.
The bench then sentenced the accused to undergo rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 2 lakhs, and in default of payment of this fine, to undergo further rigorous imprisonment for three years. Upon recovery of the fine, the entire amount shall be disbursed to the parents of the deceased as compensation, it added.