A was found to have killed B inside B’s Kothari at about 7 A.M. by giving as many as 30 knife blows. Most of the injuries received by B were on his neck and other vital parts of the body. B died as a cumulative effect…

By | July 20, 2021
ipc mains

Question: A was found to have killed B inside B’s Kothari at about 7 A.M. by giving as many as 30 knife blows. Most of the injuries received by B were on his neck and other vital parts of the body. B died as a cumulative effect of the injuries received by him. Soon after the incident, A was arrested and medically examined. His medical examination revealed that A has 3 minor knife injuries in the form of scratches on his palm. These injuries could be sustained by him at the time when fatal injuries were caused to B. The prosecution could not produce any evidence to establish the precise circumstances in which A had started the assault on B. A’s defence was that he was known to B from before and that he had been invited by B to spend the night in his Kothari. While he was sleeping, B attacked him with a knife and succeeded in causing injuries found on his palm. He picked up a knife that was lying there and used the same in self-defence. What offence, if any, has been committed by A. [U.P. H.J.S. 1982]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites [A was found to have killed B inside B’s Kothari at about 7 A.M. by giving as many as 30 knife blows. Most of the injuries received by B were on his neck and other vital parts of the body. B died as a cumulative effect…]

Answer

Section 308 provides for an Attempt to commit culpable homicide.

Whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge and under such circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both; and, if hurt is caused to any person by such act, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

Illustration to section 308:

A, on the grave and sudden provocation, fires a pistol at Z, under such circumstances that if he thereby caused death he would be guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. A has committed the offence defined in this section.

The defence of grave and sudden provocation as used as an exception to Section 300 of the code which provides that, the culpable homicide will not be murder, if, the offender, on account of the grave and sudden provocation, is deprived of his power of self-control and causes the death of a person.

The person, whose death is caused, may be the person who gave the provocation or any other person by mistake or accident.

The exception is itself subject to three exceptions. Two relevant to the present facts are:

  1. The provocation should not have been sought for voluntarily by the offender, as an excuse for killing or doing any harm to any person.
  2. The provocation is not as a result of an act done in obedience to law or by the act of a public servant in the lawful exercise of his powers.
  3. The provocation is not a result of anything done in the exercise of the right of private defence.

Because here the prosecution could not adduce evidence proving the guilt of the accused, the decision must be in favour of the accused. This is based on the general principle of criminal jurisprudence that an accused is innocent until proven guilty.

In the case, State of Madras v. Vaidyanatha Iyer, AIR 1958 SC 61, the Court also observed that:

“In any case, the evidence is not enough to show that the explanation offered by the accused cannot reasonably be true, and so the benefit of doubt must go to him”.

So, here in this case A will be given the benefit of Exception 1 to Section 300, acting in the grave and sudden provocation in his self-defence, and will make him liable for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.


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