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Report No. 35

Appendix XXVI

List of Capital Offences Under Bombay Regulation XVI of 1827, and Provisions therein Regarding Offences which are now Capital

IIIA-List of capital offences under Bombay regulation XIV of 1827 and provisions therein regarding offences which are now capital

The Bombay Regulation of 1827 (XIV of 1327), "a Regulation for defining crimes and offences and specifying the punishments to be inflicted for the same" was passed by the Governor-in-Council on 1st January, 1827. Its important provisions of interest in connection with capital punishment are noted below:-

Section.-clause 2d.-Attempts--"An attempt to commit any of the above acts1 shall be punished according to the Court's judgment founded on a combined consideration of the measure of guilt attempted and committed, but the punishment for such attempt shall in no case exceed that prescribed for the actual commission of the offence attempted."

1. Section 1, clause 1st covered all sections punishable under the Code.

Section.-clause 3d.-Negligence-"The unintentional commission of any of the above acts shall be punished according to the Court's judgment of the culpable disregard of injury to others evinced by the person committing the said act, but the punishment for such unintentional commission shall not exceed that prescribed for the offence committed."

Section.-clause 5th-Instigation and abetment-"Instigating or aiding in any of the above offences committed or attempted, shall be punishable as the respective offences; and in treason, rebellion, murder, or gang robbery, concealment whether before or after the fact, shall be punishable equally with instigation or aid."

Section III-clause 1st-(Table item First) authorised the punishment of death in accordance with the rules prescribed in the succeeding section.

Section IV dealt with the mode of inflicting punishment of death. Under clause 1st, hanging the criminal by the neck was the mode of carrying out the sentence, and it was also stressed that the time should be between sunrise and sunset, and the spot should be selected in such a way as may afford the greatest possible publicity to the execution. Under clause 2d, it directed that the executions should be conducted in a manner calculated to impress the spectators with awe and to increase the impression on the spectators. Under clause 5th, death was not to be inflicted on Brahmins or on females in districts, where the religious feelings of the native community would be shocked thereby, unless in cases of such deep atrocity as may be expected to counteract the effect of those feelings.

Section XII-clause 1st-defines "treason" and under clause 2d, the punishment of treason shall be death and confiscation of property.

[Note.-Under Regulation I of 1827, sections VIII and IX, in case of war or rebellion, the Governor-in-Council by proclamation could suspend the civil and criminal law for public safety and during such suspension the Governor-in-Council could order acts of treason, or rebellion against the British Government committed by persons owing by birth or residence allegiance to the said Government to be tried by court martial and the immediate punishment of death was authorised.]

Under section XVI, clause 2d, the offence of perjury was fined with imprisonment, flogging or public disgrace, etc.

Section XXVI, clauses 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th dealt with murder, as follows:-

Murder defined.-Clause 1st-"Any person who shall purposely, and without justifiable or extenuating cause deprive a human being of life, or who shall commit or assist in any unlawful act, the perpetration of which is accompanied with the death of human being, shall be liable to the punishment of murder, provided always that death take place within six months after the act was committed."

The belief that the deceased was sorcerer not admitted without justification, provision regarding self-immolation prescribed by the sufferer.-Clause 2d.-"The belief that sorcery was practised by the deceased shall not be admitted as a justifiable cause for putting him or her to death, nor shall the deceased's own request be so admitted; by assisting at any rites of self-immolation, as directed by the religious law of the person performing such immolation, shall not subject any one to the penalty of murder."

Certain causes may justify the taking away of life.-Clause 3d.-"Deprivation of life may be considered justifiable as a means of resistance (provided it be the only evident and efficient one) to violence offered to the person or property of any one, or as the only evident and efficient means of securing a person who has committed robbery or murder, or any other atrocious offence."

Punishment of murder.-Clause 4th-"The punishment of murder shall be death, transportation, imprisonment for life, or solitary imprisonment with flogging."

Under Section XXVII, culpable homicide was defined as follows:-

"Any person who shall, by committing or assisting in any unlawful act, occasion the death of a human being, provided, as before, that death ensue within six months after the act was committed, under circumstances which the Court, in judging of the act, intention and cause, considers though not justifiable under the preceding section, yet sufficiently extenuating to divest the act of so much criminality as would constitute murder, shall be deemed guilty of culpable homicide, and shall be punishable with fine, or imprisonment not exceeding ten years, or both combined."

Under section XXXVII, clause 1st, gang robbery committed by day or night, when accompanied with force, was punishable in any of the modes specified in section III, except confiscation. This included the punishment of death.

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