Punishment for an offence done without premeditation should be less than that for a premeditated offence

Gauhati High Court: A criminal appeal filed against the conviction and sentence of the appellant under Section 302 IPC by the trial court, was partly allowed by a Division Bench comprising of Ajit Singh, CJ and Achintya Malla Bujor Barua, J.

The appellant was accused of murder of his adopted son by giving him a blow with an axe. The appellant who was alleged to have surrendered himself for the said offence, was convicted and sentenced under Section 302 IPC by the trial court. The appellant was in appeal against the decision of the trial court.

The High Court considered the record and found that all of the prosecution witnesses turned hostile. Even the mother of the deceased (wife of the appellant) who was also the first informant in the case, did not support prosecution’s case at all. However, the fact remained that according to the post-mortem report, the death of deceased was indeed caused by the axe-blows and there was no explanation to the fact that how the dead body of the deceased was found in appellant’s house. Nonetheless, the Court was of the view that in light of the fact that the offence was committed in fit of an anger during sudden quarrel between the appellant and the deceased, the appellant could not have been said to have premeditated for commission of the offence. Opining that the punishment for an act done without premeditation on a fit of anger should be less than that for a premeditated offence, the High Court held that the conviction of the appellant shall be modified from that under Section 302 to one under Section 304 Part I of IPC. The appeal was thus partly allowed. [Ranjit Tanti v. State of Assam, 2018 SCC OnLine Gau 585, dated 01-06-2018]

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