Conviction under Section 302 modified to Section 304(1) IPC in absence of intention to cause murder

Rajasthan High Court: Conviction of the appellant under Section 302 IPC was modified to Section 304(1) by a Division Bench comprising of Sangeet Lodha and Virendra Kumar Mathur, JJ.

The appellant was accused of causing the death of his wife by setting her ablaze. It was alleged that he used to drink and beat his wife and on the day of the incident he kicked her in the stomach, poured kerosene on her and set her ablaze. In this appeal, the appellant did not contend the finding of guilt against him, however, he contended that the conviction may be altered from Section 302 to Section 304(1) on the ground that he had no intention to cause the murder of his wife.

The High Court perused the record and found that the appellant was under the influence of intoxication at the time of the incident. The incident took place after a quarrel. The appellant also had a few burn injuries which might have been due to the reason that he tried to save her. The time gap between the incident and the death of the wife was almost one and a half month. Even the post-mortem report suggested that the cause of death of the deceased were multiple. In such facts and circumstances, the Court held that the intention of causing murder could not be attributed to the appellant. Neither the motive was proved. At best, he could be attributed with the knowledge that his act will cause such bodily injury that may cause death which was an element of an offence under Section 304(1) IPC. Accordingly, the conviction and sentence of the appellant was altered as mentioned hereinabove. [Bhagwan Lal v. State of Rajasthan, 2018 SCC OnLine Raj 1193, dated 15-5-2018]

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