Case Summary: Balku v Emperor, AIR 1938 All. 532

By | May 22, 2021
Balku v Emperor, AIR 1938

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The significant contrast between murder and culpable homicide is that murder usually considered as an aggregative form of culpable homicide. For murder there is no possibility of equivocalness left for the benefit of the blamed, the charge is without a doubt that his actions will cause the death of the person therefore concerned.

While underneath Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code the expression “LIKELY” denotes that there is a component of uncertainty that the suspect might or in all probability will not cause the death of the person.


  • Court: In the High Court of Allahabad
  • Decided On: 13/06/1938
  • Appellant: Balku
  • Respondent: Emperor
  • Citations: AIR 1938 All 532
  • Author: Justice Bennet
  • Disposition: In favour of the accused.
  • Catchwords: Adultery, assault, confessing, stabbing, grave and sudden, culpable homicide.

Statutory Provisions Mentioned

Section 299 and Section 300 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Facts in brief

A 25 year’s old man named Balku had a dispute with his wife. On 13th September, Balku visited his father-in-law’s (Manni) house to take his better half home. He asked that his wife should be sent with him. Mr Manni demanded him to stay at the place for ten days and after that Nanhi would accompany him. Balku still demanded, in the meantime, Badhu who was Nanhi sister-in-law’s husband joined the conversation and interrupted them and said that he won’t send Nanhi. On this, both had a heated argument.

Later they both lied on a ‘charpai’ at midnight Balku heard some disturbing noise. He woke up and discovered Badhu entering his wife’s room, Balku followed him who meanwhile headed inside and shut the entryway. Balku peeped through the window and saw that Badhu was committing adultery with his wife (Nanhi). When Badhu returned and lay next to him(Balku), he stabbed Badhu with a knife on his chest as a consequence Badhu died on the spot. Later Balku managed to escape. In the morning Balku was found in the fields and he was persuaded to come to the door of Manni.


Whether the accused be convicted for murder under Section 300 or he shall get the benefit under exception 1 of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code?

Contentions from both sides

Appellant Contentions

  • The counsel on behalf of the petitioner contended that no man can endure seeing his wife engaging in adultery with another man. It is something unbearable, he was deprived of his honour so in the aforesaid case, Balku was provoked which made him slaughter Badhu.

Respondent Contentions

  • The prosecution gave the argument that the fact that the accused, after having witnessed the illicit relations being committed, held up until Budhu had come out and had set down and started to nap on the ‘charpai’ before he assaulted him.
  • Further, the prosecution contended that if the provocation is connected with a series of incidence it can be affirmed that the provocation was not sudden.

Case History

The accused was placed before a Magistrate on  24th September on his petition Balku confessed that he stabbed Badhu with a knife as was unable to tolerate the man who was involved in sexual intercourse with his wife.

After hearing his admission and going through the shreds of evidence the Session Court (Justice GP Verma) convicted him for the charge of murder under Section 300 and punished him under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

Judgment | Balku v Emperor

The matter on appeal went to the High Court. The court observed that on several occasions his wife was not allowed to return with him; this would not have been a sufficient motive that made such a sudden move by him. Some other and even more noteworthy reason probably worked at the forefront of his thoughts to make him assault Badhu by inflicting wounds on the arms and chest with a sharp-edged knife.

The court then looked at Exception 1 of Section 300 of IPC which states: “Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, whilst deprived of the power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation”.

In the present case the following facts were connected with exception 1 of Section 300:-

  • Provocation existed (adultery was committed).
  • Provocation was given by the deceased (Badhu).
  • Provocation was grave and sudden.
  • Due to provocation Balku killed the deceased.

At the point when Badhu came into close contact with Balku by lying next to him, this probably worked further on the psyche of the accused that the man presently lying adjacent to him had been disrespecting and betraying him a couple of moments prior. Under these conditions, the incitement would be both grave and abrupt.

Court held that “sudden” does not mean ‘immediate action’, sudden means “something that is anticipated”. Balku’s chain of provocation continued whenever he looked at the deceased; he got frustrated though he had to wait for a few moments; no period was required for him to search for the weapon and attack upon him.

Thus the accused got the benefit of Exception 1(Section 300) and was punished under Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder), I.P.C. and sentenced him 5 years rigorous imprisonment.

Case referred by the Court 

Abu Das v. Emperor (1901) 28 Cal. 571

It was held that when certain blamed people had the incitement for seeing infidelity being committed by the deceased with the spouse of one of them, the incitement would be viewed as grave and unexpected after a span during which the deceased was taken to a specific distance before being attacked.


In general, provocation means “serious anger”.To discover an accused was under “sudden and grave provocation” or not. We need to look at the person action and plan in case he is deprived of the power of self-control by provocation which is sudden and grave he loses his temper and can commit murder of the deceased at any point in time. In the case of K. M. Nanavati v. the State Of Maharashtra on 24 November 1961 the accused purposefully went to look for the deceased, he argued with him then he shot the man. Thus it is evident he had control over his actions hence it was a planned act of murder.

While in the aforementioned case Balku lost his self-control and murdered the deceased at the spot.

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