Bombay High Court : In an appeal filed questioning the legality of Judgment and convicting both Appellants i.e. a father and a son, under Section 235(2) of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) for offence punishable under Section 302 read with 34 of Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and sentencing both to suffer imprisonment for life with fine of Rs. 1000/- each, in default, to suffer rigorous imprisonment for one month, a Division Bench of A S Gadkari and Milind N Jahdav, JJ., set aside the conviction order under Section 302 IPC, instead convicted them under Section 304 Part-II IPC and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs. 25,000/- each, and to suffer further rigorous imprisonment for six months as the Court opined that that Appellants acted in a sudden spur of the moment and heat of passion and by such act they acted in a manner that, they knew is likely to cause death of the boy but without the intention to kill him.
The Court further noted that in the present case, the Trial Court has convicted and sentenced the appellants for the offence of murder under Section 302 IPC, however, keeping in mind Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC, which outlines a situation where culpable homicide does not amount to murder and on minute perusal of the evidence and record of the present case, it is discernible that Appellant 1’s daughter had a love affair with man which was not accepted by his family as both were of tender age and belonged to different castes.
Further, from the deposition of PW-1, it is clear that Appellant 1 had visited boy's house and informed his family that he will not give his daughter's hand to their son and they should find some other bride for him and threatened to kill him if he continued his lover affair with their daughter, thus, making it clear that Appellants were against their relationship and did everything possible to break the same which also shows that Appellants were enraged with the boy as the affair was continuing.
In light of the facts that appellant 1 and 2 confronted and abused him due to which a physical scuffle broke out and Appellant 2 held boy's hands and body from behind and Appellant 1 in the heat of passion removed the carpenter's hammer from the carrier/boot of his motorcycle and gave a singular blow on his forehead and ran away on their motorcycle, the Court opined that Appellant 1 was a carpenter by profession and it is therefore not unusual on his part to carry a hammer and other equipment related to carpentry in the boot of his motorcycle.
Therefore, in view of the provisions of Exception 4 to Section 300, the act of inflicting a singular blow with the hammer on boy's forehead by Appellant 1 can be said to have been inflicted in a heat of passion and on the spur of the moment due to the motive, but certainly cannot be a premeditated and planned act to murder him.
The Court observed that it is discernible that it could not have been the intention of Appellants to kill and murder the boy but certainly both Appellants wanted to teach him a lesson and reprimand him for continuing with the said alliance. The injury caused to the boy by blow of hammer was however fatal leading to his death.
Thus, the Court held that the Trial Court erred in convicting and sentencing the when the Appellants deserve to be given the benefit of doubt as the act falls within the ambit of punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder as Appellants acted in a sudden spur of the moment and heat of passion and that by such act they acted in a manner that they knew is likely to cause death of boy but without the intention to kill him.
The Court further directed release of the appellants as both have undergone the sentence awarded.
[Sachin Laxman Dandekar v. State of Maharashtra, 2022 SCC OnLine Bom 3120, decided on 29-09-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr. P.R. Arjunwadkar a/w. Ms. Prabha U. Badadare, Advocates, for the Appellants;
Mr. S. S.Hulke, APP, for the Respondent — State.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has put this report together.