Karnataka High Court: While deliberating over an appeal for setting aside of conviction and sentence under Sections 307, 341 and 504 of Penal Code, 1860 passed by the Sessions Court against the accused-appellant for squeezing the victim’s testicles during a quarrel, the Bench of K. Natarajan, J.*, modified the sentence holding that previous enemity between the parties, which led to eventual squeezing of the victim’s testicles during a crowded procession in presence of large number of villagers, does not come under the category of attempt to commit murder. The accused-appellant’s actions falls under the category of grievous hurt under Section 325 of Penal Code, 1860.
Background: On 15-03-2010 at around 6 pm in the evening, the victim was driving his tractor, when the accused came in front of him and stared. On the same day at night, when the victim and his family members were dancing in a village fair procession the accused-appellant came again picked up a quarrel with him and abused him using filthy language and squeezed his testicles thereby causing major injuries on the vital part.
The eyewitnesses pacified the quarrel and admitted the victim in a hospital. After due procedure, the accused-appellant was arrested and was sent to judicial custody and later was released on bail. After the police completed their investigation in the matter, filed a chargesheet, thereafter the matter reached the Trial Court where the accused-appellant was found guilty under Sections 307, 341 and 504 of Penal Code, 1860.
High Court Government Pleader supported the Trial Court’s verdict and argued that due to previous enemity, the accused-appellant picked up a quarrel and squeezed the victim’s testicles. It was argued that the victim sustained injuries at the instance of the accused-appellant. It was argued that this was clear case of attempt to murder given the nature of the injuries.
Court’s Assessment: Perusing the facts and contentions, the Court considered that whether the prosecution proved its charge of attempt to murder against the accused-appellant beyond reasonable doubt and that whether the Trial Court’s verdict calls for High Court’s interference.
The Court perused the statements given by the prosecution witnesses (PWs) in detail and noted that the accused-appellant has offered only denial in response to the accusations.
The Court further pointed out that 4 PWs have supported the prosecution case of the accused-appellant squeezing the victim’s testicles in an attempt to murder him. The medical witnesses have strengthened the prosecution case.
The Court was of the view that prosecution was able to prove that the accused-appellant due to previous enemity with the victim, picked up a quarrel, abused him and squeezed the victim’s testicles.
High Court noted the Trial Court’s reasoning that testicles are vital part of the body and of the injuries had not been treated on time, it would have led to the victim’s death; thus it cannot be said that the accused-appellant was not aware that injuring the victim’s testicle may cause the victim’s death. However, the High Court pointed out that even though the events occurred due to previous enemity, but on the day of the incident, the quarrel took place during a village fair procession, where there was light due to lamps being carried on by other persons. The High Court pointed out that the accused-appellant indeed chose to squeeze the victim’s testicles during the procession, but the same cannot be said to have been done with the intention of committing murder. Therefore, it cannot be said that the accused-appellant came with a preparation to commit murder. If that had been the case, then the accused-appellant would have brought deadly weapons with him. However, in this instance, many villagers were present during the scuffle.
The Court pointed out that the accused-appellant chose to squeeze the victim’s testicles as result the victim had to undergo surgery where his testicles were removed; this amounts to grievous hurt which comes under Section 325 of Penal Code, 1860.
The Court thus allowed the appeal in part and modified the accused-appellant’s sentence to 3 years. The Court affirmed the Trial Court’s finding vis-à-vis assault committed by the accused-appellant by squeezing the victim’s testicles; however, liability of the accused-appellant under Section 307 was modified to liability under Section 325.
[Parmeshwarappa v. State, 2023 SCC OnLine Kar 31, decided on 01-06-2023]
*Judgment delivered by Justice K. Natarajan
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Appellant- Rajendra S. Ankalkoti, Adv;
Respondent- Rashmi Jadhav, HCGP.