Case BriefsHigh Courts

Kerala High Court: The Division Bench of A.M. Shaffique and P. Somarajan, JJ. was hearing a death reference tagged along with a criminal appeal filed by the accused challenging order of the Sessions Judge vide which he was convicted and sentenced to be hanged by the neck till his death for offences under Sections 376, 302, 449 and 392 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

The accused respondent trespassed into the house of a minor girl aged 15 years, raped and murdered her; and thereafter committed theft of a gold necklace and a gold ring from her body. The Court observed that there was no eye-witness to the incident and the case rested purely on circumstantial evidence. However, scientific material showed that the DNA found in spermatozoa taken from victim’s vagina matched with the DNA profile of the accused. This clearly proved that the accused had raped the victim. Further, the missing chain and ring were recovered from a financier where the accused had pledged the same under a different name. Thus, the prosecution had proved all circumstances forming the chain beyond a reasonable doubt and the only hypothesis that could be arrived at by the Court was that the accused was involved in the crime.

It was noted that this was a case where the victim was subjected to forcible sexual intercourse, and lust and greed of the accused had resulted in rape and murder of a minor girl. However, the accused did not have any criminal antecedents; there was no pre-meditation and intention to commit crime would have developed all of a sudden. The offence might have been committed in a sudden rush of blood i.e., to commit robbery and rape. The accused, aged 29 years at the time of the incident, had married twice and had children.

In view of all the facts, it was opined that instead of the death penalty, the punishment of life imprisonment would meet the ends of justice. However, taking into account gravity of the offence, the Court relied on the dictum in Swamy Shraddananda (2) v. State of Karnataka, (2008) 13 SCC 767 and held that no remission be granted to the accused for a period of 25 years. [State v. Rajesh Kumar, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 43, Order dated 08-01-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of S. Muralidhar and Vinod Goel, JJ., dismissed the appeal filed against the order of the trial court whereby the appellant was convicted for the offence punishable under Section 300 IPC.

The appellant was accused of murdering the deceased by repeatedly stabbing him with a knife. The trial court convicted the appellant for murder under Section 302. The said order of conviction was challenged by the appellant in the instant appeal. Counsel for the appellant submitted that the incident was not premeditated; it was a result of a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel between the appellant and the deceased. Based on such submission, counsel for the appellant contended that Exception 4 to Section 300 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder)  stood attracted to the case.

The High Court referred to Surinder Kumar v. State (UT of Chandigarh), (1989) 2 SCC 217 and Ghapoo Yadav v. State of M.P., (2003) 3 SCC 528. It was observed that to attract Exception 4 to Section 300, not only must the defence be able to show that the offence was committed without pre-meditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel, but more importantly, it must be shown that the offender ‘did not take undue advantage and did not act in a cruel or unusual manner’. However, in the present case, on the facts and circumstances, the Court was of the view that the exception did not get attracted to the case. The testimony of witnesses as also the post-mortem report clearly showed that whatever may have been the provocation, the act of brutally stabbing the deceased with repeated knife blows, was an act done in a cruel and unusual manner which was disproportionate to the provocation. The appeal was accordingly dismissed. [Rajesh Bansal v. State,2018 SCC OnLine Del 10563, dated 14-8-2018]