Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: The 3-Judge Bench comprising of N.V. Ramana, Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and M.R. Shah, JJ. dismissed an appeal arising out of Punjab and Haryana High Court judgment, while altering the conviction and sentence awarded under Sections 304 Part II IPC to that of under Section 302 IPC.

The factual matrix of the case is as follows: Darshan Lal i.e. Complainant and his mother were witnesses to the scenario where the deceased i.e. Som Raj, complainant’s brother was seen to be followed by their neighbours fully armed with weapons and further dragging Som Raj by alleging him to have thrown stones into their house. Ramji (A5) who appeared to be in SPO uniform gave repeated kick blows to Som Raj and pressed his neck till he became unconscious.

Later, the complainant took the deceased to the hospital wherein PW 9 i.e. Inspector Ram Prakash recorded the complainant’s statement and registered an FIR. All the accused were challaned for the offence under Section 302/34 IPC.

The present appeal was filed on the trial judge forming an opinion that all the accused were guilty of offence under Section 304 read with Section 149 IPC. Aggrieved further, the parties approached the High Court, wherein the Court dismissed the appeals of the accused, allowed the State appeal and disposed of the criminal revision petition filed by the complainant by setting aside the trial court’s judgment on modifying the conviction from the offence under Section 304 Part II to offence under Section 302 IPC. Further, it was submitted that prosecution witnesses had contradictions in their statements and High Court without application of mind ignored the factum of the role played by the appellant and wrongly convicted him with other accused.

The Supreme Court on careful consideration of the facts of the case concluded its decision stating that circumstances concluding the guilt of the appellant are clearly established and High Court did not commit any error of law in convicting and sentencing the accused for an offence under Section 302 IPC. [Ramji v. State of Punjab, Criminal Appeal No. 1478-1479 of 2011, decided on 27-11-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

“The time has come for weeding out careless and negligent persons in the medical profession”.

Bombay High Court: A Single Judge Bench comprising of Sadhana S. Jadhav, J., rejected the application filed under Section 438 CrPC for grant of anticipatory bail in a case registered under Section 304 read with 34 IPC on raising a thought that “When a doctor fails in his duty, does it not tantamount to criminal negligence?

In the present case, Applicant 2 had conducted cesarean of the deceased and further the deceased was readmitted within 24 hours of discharge after a successful delivery without the presence of the doctors and merely on a telephonic prescription of medicines, etc. for the patient. The said applicant-doctor, at the time of the discharge after the delivery of a child, was not present and had in advance prepared the discharge papers of the deceased, also on the re-admission the applicant was not present, still directed the nurses to admit the deceased by giving prescription without the diagnosis.

The High Court on due consideration of the facts and circumstances of the case observed that the primary issue in the case is of “Prescription without diagnosis and hence resulting into death of the patient amounts to criminal negligence on the part of the doctors”. Therefore, the Court on perusal of the records stated that Courts cannot ignore the ethical nature of the medical law by liberally extending legal protection to the medical professional. Breach of duties would certainly fall in the realm of a criminal law of negligence. Hence, the present appeal does not lead the Court in favour of the applicants. [Deepa Sanjeev Pawaskar v. State of Maharashtra, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1841, order dated 25-07-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: A Division Bench comprising of P.N. Deshmukh and M.G. Giratkar, J., partly allowed a criminal appeal which was filed against the judgment of conviction under Section 302 IPC passed by the trial court.

The convict was accused of throwing chilli powder at the deceased and other persons and strangulating the deceased to death. The case was that the accused ran a liquor store, which was objected to by the deceased and other members of a certain samiti. According to the appellant, the deceased was leading a mob of 50 people, trying to enter her house. Apprehending threat and danger, the appellant got frightened and threw chilli powder at the mob. She caught hold of the deceased by her hair and scuffled with her only so that it would act as a deterrent for other persons from entering the house. However, during the said scuffle, the deceased died accidentally. The appellant was tried and convicted under Section 302 IPC. Aggrieved thus, the appellant filed the instant appeal.

The High Court perused the record very carefully. In light of the post-mortem report along with evidence of witnesses, it was proved that death of the deceased was homicidal. However, the Court was of the view that since the defendant did not have any intention to kill the deceased, the conviction of the appellant was liable to modified from that under Section 302 to Section 304 Part II. The order was made accordingly. [Sumitra v. State of Maharashtra,2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1550, dated 19-07-2018]