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Report No. 35

Case No. 76

Munirathnam Reddy (in re:), AIR 1955 Andh 118

(Subba Rao C.J. and Satyanarayana Raju J.)

(Judgment by Subba Rao C.J.)

Accused, a student of college, below 21 years, shot the deceased when he abused him and his father. He was a man of good antecedents. He was sentenced to transportation for life, but the High Court recommended his case to government to take action under section 10A of the Madras Borstal Schools Act (Act 5 of 1926).

Case No. 77

Shivanna (in re:), AIR 1955 Mys 17: ILR 1954 Mys 469

In this case, there was difference of opinion between Medapa C.J. and Vasudevamurthy J. as to whether the accused were guilty of murder. The case was based on circumstantial evidence as to possession of stolen articles of a women murdered. The case was referred under section 429 of Criminal Procedure Code to Mallappa J. who acquitted the accused.

Case No. 78

Atma Singh v. State, AIR 1955 Punj 191.

Bhandari C.J. and Falshaw J.

(Judgment by Falshaw J.)

There was some dispute between the appellant's father on the one hand and the father of the deceased on the other (both Jats) regarding irrigation of land. A panchayat was called to settle the matter, and at that panchayat the appellant and his father had kept in their possession spear and a stick respectively while the meeting was going on. The discussion developed into an exchange of abuse between the father of the deceased on the one hand and appellant's father on the other hand. At the sound of the exchange of abuse, the appellant's brothers ran out of their house armed with sticks and the deceased came out of his father's house.

On the arrival of the deceased, the appellant and his father and brothers set on him and the appellant spread him on the left side of the chest while others gave him a blow with their sticks. The deceased died the next day as a result of this spear injury which had penetrated to a depth of 41/2 incheS injuring the left lung. The appellant was convicted under section 302 and sentenced to death by the Sessions Judge. (His father and brothers were also tried but acquitted).

On appeal to the High Court, the argument was that the case fell within the fourth Exception to section 300-culpable homicide committed in the heat of the moment and without premeditation and in the course of a sudden fight following upon a sudden quarrel-was rejected. The High Court pointed out that the deceased had not come out with a weapon, nor had attacked or tried to attack the appellant or the other accused with any weapon.

The accused had not laid any such evidence or put question on that line'in cross-examination to any prosecution witness. It was his duty to prove that the case fell within the Exception which he had not discharged. Moreover, even if the deceased had come with a weapon, there had been no "fight" because it takes two to make a fight. The deceased had not aimed any blow at the appellant. Hence the conviction under section 302 was confirmed. But the sentence was reduced to transportation for life, after making these observations:-

"It is, however, clear that Atma Singh speared Shangara Singh in the heat of the moment and in the course of a sudden quarrel and that the murder was not premeditated."

Case No. 79

Bansi v. The State, AIR 1956 All 668 (670)

(Raghubar Dayal and B.R. James JJ.)

(Judgment by the latter).

In this case, B a Brahmin, was convicted of the murder of a 'Bhangi' woman. It appears that a small pig belonging to the Bhangi woman entered the house of the accused and defiled it. This enranged the accused and he tried to seize the animal and began hitting it with a lathi. The woman asked him to spare the animal, promising that it would not stray in future.

Thereupon the accused hit the woman with a number of lathi blows, and both the woman and the pig fell down and died. The Sessions Judge convicted him under section 302, Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to transportation for life.

On appeal to the High Court, the interpretation of section 300, clauses Secondly and Thirdly, was discussed and it was pointed out (in reply to the argument that there was no intention to cause death) that the accused was liable under the Third Clause of section 300, because the bodily injuries were sufficient in the ordinary course of the nature to cause the woman's death.

This was in view of the circumstances detailed below, namely, use of a lathi, ferocity of the blows, fact that the victim was a woman and fact that the blows were given in the chest and abdomen, lacerating the liver and the spleen. The Court confirmed the conviction. Regarding enhancement of sentence its observations was.-

"Since the Learned Trial Judge has himself awarded him the lesser sentence for this offence no re-consideration of the sentence is possible."

Case No. 80

State v. Pandurang, AIR 1956 Bom 711

(Gajendragdkar and J.C. Shah JJ.)

(Judgment by Shah J.)

The accused had enmity with the deceased and to wreak vengeance he planned his murder and carried it into execution in a cold-blooded manner. The Sessions Judge sentenced him to transportation for life, while convicting him under section 302, Indian Penal Code and also ordered him to pay a fine of Rs. 500.

The High Court, while confirming the conviction, enhanced the sentence to one of death. (The sentence of fine was set aside as the offence was not committed for any monetary gain.) The Court observed1 that the normal sentence for murder was death, and the discretion in awarding the sentence must be judicially exercised. In the instant case, there was no extenuating circumstance.

Some 2 or 3 years ago, the deceased and his brothers had been convicted of an offence under sections 323 and 324 Indian Penal Code against the accused, but that could not justify the accused to argue (as was done in the Sessions Court) that they were in danger of their lives. If, with a view to taking the law into his own hands, the accused planned murder for wreaking vengeance, the proper sentence should be death and not lesser one. Sentence enhanced.

1. P. 715, para. 9 in the AIR.

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