Delhi High Court: In an appeal to set aside judgment and sentence order by the trial court against the appellant, Gita Mittal, CJ and Anu Malhotra, J., held that the appellant was not liable under Section 302 IPC for commission of murder but for commission of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304, falling under Exception 4 of Section 300, which states that culpable homicide is not murder if committed without premeditation, in a sudden fight in the heat of passion without the offender having acted in a cruel or unusual manner.
The trial court had held that though the occurrence took place all of a sudden and that there was no premeditation on the part of appellant, the quarrel took place between the appellant and the deceased’s companion; and the appellant had acted in a cruel and unfair manner. However, the High Court relied on the Explanation to Exception 4, S. 300 IPC, which states that it is immaterial as to which party offers the provocation or commits the first assault. This implies that the infliction of injury by the offender can take place on a person other than the person with whom the fight had taken place.
Relying on a Supreme Court judgment, other circumstances were considered like the weapon wasn’t carried by the appellant, the deceased was not known to the appellant, and there was no premeditation on the appellant’s part, having acted on sudden provocation. The sentence was modified from life imprisonment and fine of Rs. 10,000 to rigorous imprisonment of 6 years only, with the period of detention undergone by the appellant to be set off of the period of imprisonment.
Jail authorities were also directed to consider a programme for the appellant involving correctional courses, education, training and skill development and adequate counseling to ensure his rehabilitation post release. [Ashok Bind v. The State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), 2017 SCC OnLine Del 8918, decided on 20.06.2017]