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The accused party were acting in the right of private defence: Rajasthan High Court

The right to private defence gives right to defend oneself from any reasonable apprehension of danger. The threat however must give rise to present and imminent danger and not remote or distant danger. As long as the fear of danger continues, the person is free to use his right of private defence. In context of the Case No. 660/2017 Prempal And Ors vs. State of Rajasthan. The judgment was passed by Hon’ble Rameshwar Vyas.

The facts of the case are as follows: the witness alleged that on the same day at about 7.00 AM, his brother i.e. the accused appellant Prempal and his family members assaulted him. After this incident, the informant along with his son Krishnapal were returning home and had reached the old bus stand at Behror and were proceeding towards their fields. At that point of time, Prempal, his son, two daughters-in-law and wife Munni who were reaping bajra crops in their fields accosted the complainant and his son. Prempal and his daughter-in-law Asha were armed with axes and his wife Munni, son Sonu and son’s wife were armed with ‘Bakdis’. These accused persons launched an indiscriminate assault on the complainant and his son Krishnapal by their respective weapons. Prempal gave blow on the head of Krishnapal with an axe, Asha also gave blows with the axe to the complainant and his son Krishnapal on the head, hands and chest. The remaining accused persons assaulted them with ‘Bakdis’. The incident was seen by the neighbours Omprakash S/o Ramdayal (PW-14) and other persons. The villagers brought the complainant and his son to Kailash Hospital, where Krishnapal erupted as a result of the injuries inflicted to him. The dead body of Krishnapal was subjected to autopsy by a Medical Board constituted at Government Hospital, Behror, which issued the postmortem report (Ex.P/3), taking note of an incised wound on (4 of 13) [CRLA-660/2017] the right parieto-occipital region and another incised wound on the right upper side of the chest of the victim. An opinion was expressed by the board that the head injury led to haemorrhagic shock resulting into death of Krishnapal. After concluding investigation, the Investigating Officer proceeded to file a charge- sheet against the appellants herein whereas the accused Asha was found to be innocent and was exonerated. It is relevant to mention here that the prosecution did not make any effort for summoning Asha as an additional accused in this case. The case was committed to the court of Additional Sessions Judge No.1, Behror, District Alwar for trial where charges were framed against the accused appellants for the offences punishable under Sections 341323324 read with Section 34325325 read with Section 34302 read with Section 34 IPC.

The accused were questioned under Section 313 CrPC and were confronted with the circumstances appearing against them in the prosecution case. They denied the same. A pertinent defence was taken by the accused Prempal that he was proceeding to his field on his motorcycle and was carrying tea with himself. He was waylaid by Mahendrapal and Krishnapal who were armed with axe. They started assaulting the accused. Blows of axes landed on his motorcycle. Mahendrapal tried to inflict an axe blow onto him which incidentally landed on the head of Krishnapal. Ten documents were exhibited but no witness was examined in defence. The evidence of the eye-witnesses. Mahendrapal (PW-12), the first informant, alleged that after the incident of assault which took place with them in the morning, he went to report the matter at Police Station, Behror and while he was returning back at about 2.30 PM, his son met him at Behror bus stand. They were proceeding towards their house and were allegedly waylaid by six accused namely Prempal, Munni, Asha, Sussi, Sonu and Poonam. Prempal allegedly inflicted an axe blow on the head of the complaint’s son, Asha delivered an axe blow on the chest, the others laid fist and kick blows to Krishanpal. Sonu gave blows with the reverse side of the bakdi on the hands of Krishnapal. Prempal allegedly inflicted 3-4 axe blows on the head of Mahendrapal and Asha chopped off his hands with the axe, Poonam and Sussi inflicted bakdi blows on the informant’s wife. In cross-examination, all the witnesses admitted that the police arrested (Sunderpal) and Prempal at the spot and the weapons were also recovered from the spot. The witnesses also admitted that the place where the incident took place was near the road, the field besides the road was in Mahendrapal’s possession whereas, Prempal’s field was nowhere near. The witnesses were confronted with their police statements and Parcha Bayan regarding various contradictions/improvements and they could not reconcile the same. Specific suggestion was given to the first informant Mahendrapal regarding he and Krishnapal being armed with the axe and being the aggressors which he denied. The (9 of 13) [CRLA-660/2017] suggestion regarding inflicting axe blows on the person of Prempal and on his motorcycle was also refuted by the complainant.

The evidence of PWs 3 and 4 collectively would show that though the incident has taken place because of the gunshot (12 of 13) [CRLA-660/2017] fired by the accused towards the deceased and the deceased lost his life, but the act of the accused will fall under Exception II to Section 300 of the IPC, in as much as the fire by the accused was due to the aforementioned fact of the deceased pointing gun towards the accused, i.e., because of the threat perception created by the deceased in the mind of the accused.”As we have held that the accused party were acting in the exercise of right of private defence and exceeded the same, the mischief of Section 34 IPC providing for vicarious liability cannot be invoked against the accused Munni Devi and Sonu.

The judgment given was “The conviction of the accused appellants Munni Devi and Sonu is hereby set aside and they are acquitted of the charges levelled against them. The accused Sonu and Munni Devi are on bail and their bail bonds are discharged.However, keeping in view the provisions of Section 437-A Cr.P.C., each of the appellants is directed to furnish a personal bond in the sum of Rs.15,000/- and a surety bond in the like amount before the learned trial court, which shall be effective for a period of six months to the effect that in the event of filing of a Special Leave Petition against the present judgment on receipt of (13 of 13) [CRLA-660/2017] notice thereof, the appellants shall appear before the Supreme Court.The appeal is partly allowed in these terms.”

 

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