Case BriefsHigh Courts

Gauhati High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Suman Shyam and A.M. Buzor Baruah, JJ., altered the conviction and sentence of the appellant from that under Section 302 to Section 304 Part II of Penal Code, 1860.

The appellant was convicted for the homicidal death of his father-in-law. It was alleged that the appellant hacked the deceased to death with an axe. On receiving information, an FIR was registered under Section 302 against the petitioner. The appellant was tried and convicted by the trial court and sentenced to life imprisonment. The appellant filed the instant appeal against the said order. It is worth mentioning that conviction of the appellant was based on testimonies of eye-witnesses as well as the wife of the deceased (mother-in-law of the petitioner).

The High Court considered the record as well as submissions made by the parties. The Court noted that the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses indeed proved that the death of the deceased was homicidal. The Court perused the testimonies of the witnesses and was of the opinion that the wife (CW 1) of the deceased was a material witness. Her testimony, according to the Court, was most important. It was noted that in her testimony, CW 1 had stated that there was a dispute between the appellant and the deceased over a sum of Rs. 1000. Also, there was an ongoing fight between both of them that started the previous day. The Court also noted that the eye-witnesses also stated that at the time of the incident, there was a fight between the appellant and the deceased who was also holding a bamboo stick. Further, although the appellant was equipped with an axe, he did not use the sharp edge of it while assaulting the deceased. In such circumstances, the High Court was of the opinion that it was a case where the act was committed in a fit of anger; the existence of a grave and sudden provocation could not be ruled out. Accordingly, the Court while upholding the finding of guilt against the accused, modified his conviction as stated above. Also, the sentence was modified from that of life to seven years imprisonment. [Joyram Kerkata v. State of Assam,2018 SCC OnLine Gau 643, dated 25-6-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: While answering the criminal reference in a case falling under the category of ‘rarest of rare cases’, a Division Bench comprising of Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh, JJ. confirmed the death sentence awarded to the respondent in Sessions trial.

The respondent was convicted under Section 302 IPC for murder and was sentenced to capital punishment. He was further convicted and sentenced under Sections 436, 392 and 411 IPC. The respondent was working as a Mechanic in the motorcycle showroom of one Sanjay Kumar. One Lalita also worked there as a Supervisor. Lalita complained to Sanjay about the appellant, and he was removed from the job. The appellant developed a grudge against them and on a fateful day, the respondent murdered Sanjay by giving him knife blows; chased Lalita and did away with her life; threatened the onlookers; and before escaping, put fire to the showroom. The respondent was tried, convicted and sentenced by the Sessions Court as mentioned above. Learned Additional Sessions Judge made a reference to the High Court for confirmation of death sentence awarded to the respondent.

The High Court considered the record including depositions of the witnesses. The respondent gave a knife blow on the neck of Sanjay and inflicted as many as 10 injuries on Lalita. The medical expert who conducted post-mortem examination deposed that the deceased died due to shock and hemorrhage as a result of excessive bleeding. The Court considered it established that the respondent murdered the deceased and set the showroom ablaze in presence of the witnesses whose testimony could not be assailed. He did not show any repentance, instead threatened the onlookers with dire consequences in case they tried to apprehend him. The Court held that the case fell in the category of ‘rarest of rare’ cases. In the given circumstances, the death sentence awarded to the respondent was confirmed. [State v. Sehzaad Ali, 2018 SCC OnLine Utt 522, dated 01-06-2018]