Bombay High Court: Sarang V. Kotwal, J., held that conviction for the offences punishable under Section 279 (rash driving in a public way) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) IPC is not maintainable where the driver (convict-applicant) was facing the real threat of imminent death at the hands of robbers carrying razor.
On 11-03-1983, a robbery took place at about 9:35 am, after which the robbers sat in applicant’s taxi. Prosecution’s case was that the taxi was driven in a rash and negligent manner injuring four pedestrians. The prosecution raised doubts as to the applicant’s involvement in the conspiracy but was refused by the trial Judge. He was, however, convicted under Sections 279 and 337 IPC. The applicant, represented by Ganesh Gole along with Ritesh Ratnam and Ateer Shirodkar, challenged his conviction.
On perusing the record, the High Court found that the applicant had sufficiently proved his case on the touchstone of probability. In fact, he himself if had suffered a razor injury on his neck. He was under a real and reasonable apprehension of suffering grievous injury or even death at the hands of the robbers who had forcibly entered his taxi. Referring to Section 106 IPC which makes a provision for the right of private defence against deadly assault when there is a risk of harm to an innocent person, the Court held that the applicant could not be held guilty for causing minor injuries to the pedestrians. Therefore, the trial court’s order was reversed and he was acquitted. [Hamza Mohd. Ibrahim Ansari v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 547, decided on 29-03-2019]