Criminal Case; Accused’s sister had love affair with the deceased

Mangesh Vs. State of Maharashtra, (2011) 2 SCC 11 : AIR 2011 SC 637 : JT 2011 (1) SC 15 : 2011 (1) SCALE 57 : 2011 (1) SCR 72

  • Accused’s sister had love affair with the victim-deceased which was not liked by the accused.
  • On the fateful day at odd hours, when accused saw the deceased with his sister, he assaulted him with a knife.
  • Deceased died after three days.
  • Concurrent findings of courts below that accused stabbed the deceased with a knife which resulted in his death.
  • Conviction u/s.302 and award of life sentence.

Injuries to deceased

On appeal, the Supreme Court of India has held that it was a clear cut case of loss of self control that the accused caused injuries to deceased. Blow was not with full force as was apparent from the medical evidence. Stabbing was twice on thigh and only once in chest which indicated that there was no intention to cause death.

The act was n

ot pre-meditated. The accused had not taken any undue advantage or acted in cruel or in unusual manner. In the facts and circumstances of the case, conviction of the accused altered from Section 302 to Section 304 Part-I IPC and in order to meet the ends of the justice, ten years rigorous imprisonment awarded to him.

The prosecution case was that PW-6, the sister of the appellant had a love affair with the victim (deceased) which continued for 2-3 years. The appellant did not like their relationship and had altercations with the deceased several times.

On the fateful night, the appellant saw the deceased and his sister together at 9.15 p.m. He assaulted the deceased with a knife thrice and ran away from the spot. PW-6 called the police jeep which took the deceased to the hospital. On the way, the deceased made a statement of sub-inspector (PW-7) which was treated as an FIR under Section 307 IPC.

The deceased died later and the FIR was converted to one under Section 302 IPC. The deceased made two dying declarations, one to PW-7 and another to the magistrate to the effect that the appellant had caused knife injuries to him. The trial court convicted the appellant under Section 302 IPC. The High Court affirmed the same.

The instant appeal was filed challenging the order of the High Court on the ground that the act of the appellant was not pre-meditated and it happened because of sudden provocation.

Disposing of the appeal, the Apex Court held that it was not the case in any of the dying declarations that the appellant had pre-meditated or pre-planned his actions or was having any information prior to the incident that the deceased would be found with his sister at the place of occurrence. Their meeting might have been taken by the appellant as temerity. Therefore, it was a clear cut case of loss of self control and in the heat of passion, the appellant caused injuries to deceased.

It was evident from the medical report that the appellant had not given the knife blow with full force, otherwise, the depth of the injury no.1 would have been more than just “cavity deep”. Undoubtedly, injury No.1 had been caused on the vital part of the body of the deceased but when a person loses his sense he may act violently and that by itself may not be a ground to be considered against him while determining the nature of the offence. Each case is to be considered on its own facts.

In such a case, the entire attending circumstances must be taken into consideration in order to find out the nature of the actual offence committed. The fact that the appellant stabbed the deceased twice in the thigh and only once in the chest was indicative of a lack of intention to cause death. Had the appellant intended to kill the deceased, it is unlikely that he would flee from the scene without having inflicted more injuries on the deceased.

On examining the weapon, the doctor, PW.1 opined that injury Nos. 1, 2 and 3 could be caused by handle of the knife. Death of deceased was not instantaneous rather he died on third day of the incident. The appellant had not taken any undue advantage or acted in cruel or in unusual manner. Thus, the facts and circumstances of the case require alteration of conviction of the appellant from Section 302 IPC to Section 304 Part-I IPC and ends of the justice would be met by awarding ten years rigorous imprisonment to the appellant.

Case Law Reference

  • Pulicherla Nagaraju alias Nagaraja Reddy v. State of A.P. AIR 2006 SC 3010 – distinguished.
  • Kailash v. State of M.P. (2006 (11) SCC 420
  • Karuppusamy & Anr. v. State of Tamil Nadu (2006) 11 SCC 459 – relied on.
  • Sridhar Bhuyan v. State of Orissa AIR 2004 SC 4100;
  • Gali Venkataiah v. State of Andhra Pradesh AIR 2008 SC 462 – referred to.

This Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction of the Apex Court exercised in Criminal Appeal No. 14 of 2011 arose from the Judgment & Order dated 25.8.2009 of the High Court of Bombay at Nagpur Bench, Nagpur in Criminal Appeal No. 242 of 2004.

Advocates Gaurav Agarwal appeared for the Appellant and Shabkar Chillarge, Sanjay V. Kharde and Asha Gopalan Nair for the Respondent.