Krishna Madhusudan Nayar Vs. State of Maharashtra  Insc 16 (7 January 2008)
Arijit Pasayat & Aftab Alam
out of SLP (Crl.) No.4630 of 2006) Dr. ARIJIT PASAYAT, J.
Challenge in this appeal is to the judgment of Bombay High Court, Aurangabad
Bench, dismissing the appeal of the appellant who faced trial for alleged
commission of offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code,
1860 (in short IPC) and was sentenced to imprisonment for life by learned
Additional Sessions Judge, Ahmednagar.
Background facts in a nutshell are as follows:
complainant Sajay Vithal was serving as a Waiter in Sanjog Hotel for 2-1/2
months prior to the incident. Pradip Panjabi is the owner of the said hotel.
Business in the hotel is conducted from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. After closure of the hotel,
complainant Sanjay alongwith 5 workers of the hotel used to reside in a staff
room. Hotel was closed on 3.11.1999 at 11.30 p.m. Pradip Panjabi and other staff members went out at about 1 a.m. Thereafter on 4.11.1999 around 1.30 a.m. in the night, altercations took place between Ramesh Nayar
and Anna Devraj (hereinafter referred to as the deceased) on the
point of switching off the lights. Both used to reside in the staff room. At
that time, complainant, Kundlik Chavhan and Chhotu intervened. Thereafter
complainant and Anna Devraj slept in the staff room. At about 8.30 a.m. complainant heard loud noise relating to a quarrel
and got up. He saw the accused and the deceased quarrelling and accused
inflicting two blows by a wooden log on the head of Anna Devraj.
Nayar threatened the complainant that if he disclosed anything to anybody, he
will teach him a lesson. Hence complainant went out of the room. He disclosed
the incident to the persons in the hotel working as gardeners in the morning.
At that time, Anna Devraj was not speaking anything. He was lying unconscious
and moaning. Thereafter owner of the hotel was informed on phone. He came and
the deceased was shifted to Civil Hospital for treatment. His right ear was
bleeding. Thereafter, the complainant and hotel owner went to Tophkhana Police
Station and reported the matter to police as per Exh.26. A.S.I. Puri registered
the offence as Crime No.227/99 under Sections 307, 506 of IPC and handed over
investigation to PW.7. P.S.I. Jyoti Madhav Karandikar. After completion of
investigation, charge sheet was placed and accused-appellant faced trial as he
denied the occurrence and pleaded false implication. The trial Court placed
reliance on the evidence of Sanjay Diwate (PW-5). It is to be noted that
certain other persons i.e. Dhirendera Suryavanshi (PW-2), Ashok Palve (PW-3)
and Datta Pingale (PW-6) were claimed to be eye-witnesses, but they made
departure from the statements given during investigation. The trial Court found
the evidence of PW-5 to be credible and cogent and recorded his conviction and
imposed the sentence of imprisonment for life.
conviction and sentence were challenged before the High Court, which as noted
above, dismissed the appeal.
support of the appeal, leaned counsel for the appellant submitted that the
conviction could not have been recorded solely on the testimony of one alleged
it is submitted that Section 302 IPC has no application to the facts of the
case in view of the factual scenario highlighted. According to him in course of
a sudden quarrel the incident happened. In other words, according to him
Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC applies.
Learned counsel for the respondent-State on the other hand supported the
judgment of conviction and sentence.
Coming to the question whether on the basis of a solitary evidence conviction
can be maintained, a bare reference to Section 134 of the Evidence Act, 1872
(in short 19;the Evidence Act) would suffice. The provision clearly
states that no particular number of witnesses is required to establish the
case. Conviction can be based on the testimony of a single witness if he is
wholly reliable. Corroboration may be necessary when he is only partially
reliable. If the evidence is unblemished and beyond all possible criticism and
the court is satisfied that the witness was speaking the truth then on his
evidence alone conviction can be maintained.
bringing in operation of Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC, it has to be
established that the act was committed without premeditation, in a sudden fight
in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel without the offender having taken
undue advantage and not having acted in a cruel or unusual manner.
Fourth Exception of Section 300, IPC covers acts done in a sudden fight. The
said exception deals with a case of prosecution not covered by the first
exception, after which its place would have been more appropriate. The
exception is founded upon the same principle, for in both there is absence of
premeditation. But, while in the case of Exception 1 there is total deprivation
of self-control, in case of Exception 4, there is only that heat of passion
which clouds mens sober reasons and urges them to deeds which they would
not otherwise do.
is provocation in Exception 4 as in Exception 1; but the injury done is not the
direct consequence of that provocation.
fact Exception 4 deals with cases in which notwithstanding that a blow may have
been struck, or some provocation given in the origin of the dispute or in
whatever way the quarrel may have originated, yet the subsequent conduct of
both parties puts them in respect of guilt upon equal footing. A sudden fight
implies mutual provocation and blows on each side. The homicide committed is
then clearly not traceable to unilateral provocation, nor in such cases could
the whole blame be placed on one side. For if it were so, the Exception more
appropriately applicable would be Exception 1. There is no previous
deliberation or determination to fight. A fight suddenly takes place, for which
both parties are more or less to be blamed. It may be that one of them starts
it, but if the other had not aggravated it by his own conduct it would not have
taken the serious turn it did. There is then mutual provocation and
aggravation, and it is difficult to apportion the share of blame which attaches
to each fighter. The help of Exception 4 can be invoked if death is caused
a sudden fight;
the offenders having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual
fight must have been with the person killed.
bring a case within Exception 4 all the ingredients mentioned in it must be
found. It is to be noted that the fight occurring in Exception 4 to
Section 300, IPC is not defined in the IPC. It takes two to make a fight. Heat
of passion requires that there must be no time for the passions to cool down
and in this case, the parties have worked themselves into a fury on account of
the verbal altercation in the beginning. A fight is a combat between two and
more persons whether with or without weapons. It is not possible to enunciate
any general rule as to what shall be deemed to be a sudden quarrel. It is a
question of fact and whether a quarrel is sudden or not must necessarily depend
upon the proved facts of each case. For the application of Exception 4, it is
not sufficient to show that there was a sudden quarrel and there was no
must further be shown that the offender has not taken undue advantage or acted
in cruel or unusual manner. The expression undue advantage as used in
the provision means unfair advantage.
The aforesaid aspects have been highlighted in Sridhar Bhuyan v. State of Orissa
(JT 2004 (6) SC 299), Prakash Chand v. State of H.P. (JT 2004 (6) SC 302), Sachchey
Lal Tiwari v. State of Uttar Pradesh (JT 2004 (8) SC 534), Sandhya Jadhav v.
State of Maharashtra [2006(4) SCC 653] and Lachman Singh v. State of Haryana
[2006 (10) SCC 524].
Considering the factual background the inevitable conclusion is that the
appropriate conviction would be under Section 304 Part I, IPC and not Section
302 IPC. Custodial sentence of 10 years would meet the ends of justice.
The appeal is allowed to the aforesaid extent.