Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of A.S. Oka and A.S. Gadkari, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed against the judgment of trial court whereby the appellant was convicted for an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

On the fateful day, one Yusuf (deceased) had a fight with his family. He came out of the house and abused his younger brother who was standing at the window of the house. Appellant who was also standing in his balcony, mistakenly thought that Yusuf was abusing him. He asked Yusuf whether he will come up or appellant should come down. Yusuf replied as to what appellant will do coming down. Thereafter, appellant with a knife rushed towards Yusuf climbing down 5 floors of the building and inflicted severe knife blows which resulted in Yusuf’s death. Appellant was tried and convicted by the trial court for Yusuf’s murder which was challenged by him in the present appeal.

Payoshi Roy counsel for the appellant alternatively prayed that his conviction be modified from Section 302 to Section 304. the appeal was vehemently opposed by J.P. Yagnik, Additional Public Prosecutor.

The High Court was not inclined to accept the appellant’s submission that his act would fall within the purview of Exception 4 of Section 300. Observing that, “it takes two to make a fight”, the Court went on to explain, ” To bring a case under Exception 4 of Section 300 of IPC, all the ingredients mentioned in it must be found. It is to be noted here that, the word “sudden fight” occurring in Exception 4 is not defined in the Code. To attract Exception 4, the sudden fight must take place in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel. The word “sudden” is a prefix to both the words “fight” and “quarrel”. Therefore, if after a sudden quarrel, there is a time for the passion to cool down, the resultant fight cannot be a sudden fight. Hence, in a case where there is a time to cool down after a sudden quarrel, Exception 4 will not apply.”

In the present case, it is the appellant who challenged the deceased and came down with a knife to assault him on vital parts. Appellant climbed down 5 floors, which according to Court was sufficient to pacify and cool down. Thus it was held that the appellant’s case was not covered by any of the exceptions of Section 300. The appeal was accordingly dismissed. [Dharmaraj v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 209, decided on 05-02-2019]

Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: Explaining the Exception 4 under Section 300 IPC that provides for ‘death caused in a sudden fight’, the bench of Dr. A.K. Sikri and R.K. Agrawal, JJ said that the number of wounds caused during the occurrence is not a decisive factor but what is important is that the occurrence must have been sudden and unpremeditated and the offender must have acted in a fit of anger.

The Court said that where, on a sudden quarrel, a person in the heat of the moment picks up a weapon which is handy and causes injuries, one of which proves fatal, he would be entitled to the benefit of this Exception provided he has not taken any undue advantage or acted in a cruel manner.

In the present case, there was dispute between the complainant and his relatives on one side and accused persons on the other side regarding their turn of irrigating their fields and hence, both the parties had gone to the court of Executive Magistrate, Faridkot for the settlement of the said dispute. Suddenly both the sides started quarrelling and had a heated exchange of words as the appellant-accused objected to the presence of one of the relative of the complainant and not a party to the proceedings and took out a Kirpan and assaulted the relative of the complainant.

Considering the facts of the case, the Court noticed that the injuries caused were the result of blow with a small Kirpan, which is used by ‘Amritdhari Sikhs’ as a spiritual tool and it cannot be presumed that the accused had intended to cause the inflicted injuries. The Court hence held that the act of the appellant-accused was not a cruel act and the accused did not take undue advantage of the deceased. The scuffle took place in the heat of passion and all the requirements under Section 300 Exception 4 of the IPC have been satisfied. Therefore, it was said that the benefit of Exception 4 under Section 300 IPC is attracted to the fact situations and the appellant-accused is entitled to this benefit. [Surain Singh v. State of Punjab, 2017 SCC OnLine SC 364, decided on 10.04.2017]