State of Punjab Vs. Sarwan Singh  INSC 1458 (19 November 1996)
Mr. Justice K. Ramaswamy Hon'ble Mr. Justice G.B. Pattanaik Ranbir Yadav, Adv.
for R.S. Suri, Adv. for the appellant B.B. Vashisht, P. Narasimhan and R.S. Suri,
Adv. for the Respondent
O R D
following order of the Court was delivered.
have heard learned counsel on both sides.
appeal by special leave relates to nature of the offence committed by him.
admitted position is that on October 25, 1985 at about 6 a.m. in village Kahlon
within the jurisdiction of the Police Station Nawahshahr, one Santokh Singh and
his party and the respondents ad their party had a dispute on land. They indulged
in quarrel as a result of which Santokh Singh died. The courts below recorded a
finding that the occurrence had taken place at 6.00 p.m. in which both the parties sustained injuries. The deceased Santokh
Singh received as many as 8 injuries five of which were on the head. As per the
evidence of PW-2 the autopsy doctor, he died of the multiple injuries on the
head. The injuries were inflicted with a gandasa. According to the ordinary
course of nature. Therefore, it is clearly a case under Clause thirdly of
Section 300, IPC and of murder punishable under Section 302, IPC unless the
case is brought in any one of the exceptions engrafted is Section 300 IPC. The
trial Court and the appellate Courts have applied Exception (4) to Section 300
which reads as under :
homicide is not murder if it is committed without premeditation in sudden fight
in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender's having
taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner." In this
case, the courts below found that the four injuries inflicted by the
respondent-Sarwan Singh were responsible for the death of the deceased. It is
seen that when Sarwan Singh had inflicted four injuries on the head with gandasa
which is a heavy weapon, it is obviously that he had the knowledge that the
injuries would result in death of the deceased. It is true that there was a
free fight in which both the parties including the accused sustained injuries.
Obviously, therefore, Section 149 IPC was not rightly applied and this Court
refused leave as against the acquittal of others. However, the respondent
cannot escape the offence. The parties had to fight over dispute of land.
not the case of the accused that he had acted in self- defence of him or others
and in exercise thereof, he inflicted the injuries. Therefore, the right of
private defence has not been rightly applied and was not extended to the
accused. Under these circumstances, the only question that arises is : whether
the respondent had inflicted injuries without undue advantage and acted in a
cruel or injuries with a gandasa on the head, it is implicit that he had taken
undue advantage and acted in a cruel or unusual manner in inflicting four heavy
blows on the head resulting in death of Santokh Singh. Under these
circumstances, the learned Sessions Judge as well as the High Court have
committed grave error of law in applying Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC and
giving the respondent the benefit holding it to be an offence of culpable
homicide. The conviction by the courts below under Sections 304 IPC, Part I,
therefore, is set aside. The offence is one of murder punishable under Section
302 IPC and accordingly, the respondent is convicted of the offence and is
sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life under Section 302 IPC.
appeal is accordingly allowed.