Combined impact of different weapons used during robbery to be considered for conviction under Section 397 IPC: Del HC

Delhi High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Mukta Gupta,  J. dismissed a bunch of criminal appeals filed against the judgment of the trial court whereby the appellants were convicted under Section 392 read with Section 397 IPC.

The appellants were accused of having robbed passengers of a gramin sewa vehicle by pointing deadly weapons like knife, pistol and katta. The trial court, after appraisal of the facts and evidence and on perusal of witness testimonies, held that the allegations against the appellants stood proved to bring home their guilt. Accordingly, the appellants were convicted by the trial court as mentioned above. Aggrieved thereby, the appellants filed the instant appeals. They sought benefit of doubt as the main witness did not corroborate the prosecution case as to the carrying of particular weapons by the appellants as mentioned by the prosecution.

The High Court, after perusing the record was of the opinion that there was no error in the judgment passed by the trial court. The testimony, as well as the prosecution version, was appraised and it was found that there was necessary corroboration to bring home the guilt of the appellants.

One important issue arose in the appeal filed by one of the appellants — Wahid. It was contended that he was carrying a screwdriver while committing robbery which could not be said to be a deadly weapon and therefore could not have been convicted under Section 397 IPC. It was noted that in Phool Kumar v. Delhi Admn., (1975) 1 SCC 797, it was held that a person who uses the deadly weapon can only be convicted under Section 397 IPC. In the instant case, noted the Court, four appellants used four different weapons and committed the robbery together. In such a case, it was held,  the overall impact of the weapons is also to be seen. Thus, in light of the other appellants carrying weapons like knife and pistol, the effect on the mind of the victim would have been that of a deadly weapon. In such a view of the matter, the contention as aforesaid was turned down. Resultantly, the appeals were dismissed. [Arif v. State (NCT of Delhi),2018 SCC OnLine Del 12380, decided on 15-11-2018]

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