Death after sudden quarrel without premeditation is culpable homicide not amounting to murder, SC
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Death after sudden quarrel without premeditation is culpable homicide not amounting to murder, SC

Shruti Mahajan

Death caused due to an act committed in a sudden quarrel without premeditation would be covered by Exception 4 to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and would be culpable homicide not amounting to murder, the Supreme Court has reiterated.

A Bench of Justices R Banumathi and R Subhash Reddy modified the conviction of the appellant in the case from murder Section 302 of the IPC to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The appellant and the deceased, his daughter, got into a quarrel that led to the appellant throwing a chimney lamp at his daughter in a fit of anger. The daughter sustained injuries from the chimney lamp and was taken to a hospital.

During her treatment, the victim succumbed to her injuries. However, she gave a dying declaration against the appellant prior to her death.

Based on the same, the appellant was charged with murder.

During the trial, the eye-witnesses turned hostile and the prosecution based its case mainly on the dying declaration. It eventually led to the appellant’s conviction under Section 302 of IPC for murder. The same was affirmed by the Chhattisgarh High Court, causing the aggrieved appellant to appeal against the same before the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court noted that the entire occurrence happened in a spur of the moment. A sudden quarrel between the father and the daughter led to the appellant throwing a burning chimney at his daughter. The Court observed,

“The occurrence was sudden and there was no premeditation…

…Since the occurrence was in sudden quarrel and there was no premeditation, the act of the accused would fall under Exception 4 to Section 300.”

Exception 4 to Section 300 of the IPC states that an act of culpable homicide is not murder if committed without any premeditation. It reads thus:

Section 300 : Exception 4.—Culpable homicide is not murder if it is committed without premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner.

Explanation.—It is immaterial in such cases which party offers the provocation or commits the first assault. 

Thus, the Court changed the conviction of the appellant from murder to culpable homicide. It also reduced the sentence of life imprisonment to the period already undergone by the appellant. It, therefore, directed the immediate release of the appellant given that he had already served eleven years and eight months in prison.

[Read  Judgment]

Govind-Singh-vs-Chhattisgarh.pdf
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