Bom HC | Climbing down 5 floors is sufficient time to pacify and cool down: “Sudden fight” in Exception 4 of Section 300 IPC explained

Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of A.S. Oka and A.S. Gadkari, JJ. dismissed an appeal filed against the judgment of trial court whereby the appellant was convicted for an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.

On the fateful day, one Yusuf (deceased) had a fight with his family. He came out of the house and abused his younger brother who was standing at the window of the house. Appellant who was also standing in his balcony, mistakenly thought that Yusuf was abusing him. He asked Yusuf whether he will come up or appellant should come down. Yusuf replied as to what appellant will do coming down. Thereafter, appellant with a knife rushed towards Yusuf climbing down 5 floors of the building and inflicted severe knife blows which resulted in Yusuf’s death. Appellant was tried and convicted by the trial court for Yusuf’s murder which was challenged by him in the present appeal.

Payoshi Roy counsel for the appellant alternatively prayed that his conviction be modified from Section 302 to Section 304. the appeal was vehemently opposed by J.P. Yagnik, Additional Public Prosecutor.

The High Court was not inclined to accept the appellant’s submission that his act would fall within the purview of Exception 4 of Section 300. Observing that, “it takes two to make a fight”, the Court went on to explain, ” To bring a case under Exception 4 of Section 300 of IPC, all the ingredients mentioned in it must be found. It is to be noted here that, the word “sudden fight” occurring in Exception 4 is not defined in the Code. To attract Exception 4, the sudden fight must take place in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel. The word “sudden” is a prefix to both the words “fight” and “quarrel”. Therefore, if after a sudden quarrel, there is a time for the passion to cool down, the resultant fight cannot be a sudden fight. Hence, in a case where there is a time to cool down after a sudden quarrel, Exception 4 will not apply.”

In the present case, it is the appellant who challenged the deceased and came down with a knife to assault him on vital parts. Appellant climbed down 5 floors, which according to Court was sufficient to pacify and cool down. Thus it was held that the appellant’s case was not covered by any of the exceptions of Section 300. The appeal was accordingly dismissed. [Dharmaraj v. State of Maharashtra, 2019 SCC OnLine Bom 209, decided on 05-02-2019]

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