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In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court has held that when death is caused by a single blow on a vital part of the body, Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which deals with murder may become applicable.
The Vacation Bench of Justices MR Shah and AS Bopanna set aside a decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had altered the conviction of the accused from murder to culpable homicide under Section 304 Part II of the IPC. The High Court had awarded the accused a term of five years’ rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 5,000.
The Supreme Court observed that in this case, there was a free fight during which the accused carried out a blow on the head of the victim, who sustained injuries as a result. The accused used the blunt side of a farsa to cause the injury that proved to be fatal.
It was further noted,
“As held by this Court in catena of decisions, even in a case of a single blow, but on the vital part of the body, the case may fall under Section 302 of the IPC and the accused can be held guilty for the offence under Section 302 of the IPC.”
The judgment of the High Court altering the conviction to one under Section 304 Part II was thus found to be erroneous by the Supreme Court. In light of the facts and circumstances, the Bench opined that the conviction ought to have been under Section 304 Part I of the IPC.
Part I of the provision punishes acts done with the intention of causing death or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death with a sentence that may extend to life imprisonment. Part II punishes those instances of culpable homicide wherein an act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death. The maximum sentence under Part II is ten years’ imprisonment.
The Court thus set aside the decision of the High Court and altered the conviction of the accused to Section 304 Part I of the IPC. The accused was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of eight years, along with a fine of Rs 5,000.
Read the Judgment: