Intention To Kill Is A Crucial Factor In Determining The Offense Of Murder: In Bombay High Court

The intention is the main factor to be considered and proven, which stands as the distinction between murder and culpable homicide. Culpable homicide is defined as causing death by doing anything to cause death or inflict physical damage that is likely to cause death or knowing that he is expected to cause death by doing something like that. The Judgment is pronounced by S.S. SHINDE & MILIND N. JADHAV, JJ on 04.02.2022 in  SAGAR BHAGWAN DHEMBRE V. THE STATE OF MAHARASHTRA.

By Judgment and order dated 07.03.2015, the learned Additional Sessions Judge of Pune found Shri. Sagar Bhagwan Dembre (accused initially No. 1, from now on referred to as “the Appellant”) guilty of the offenses punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (for short, “IPC”). The Appellant was sentenced by the learned Sessions Judge to life imprisonment, a fine of Rs. 5,000.00, and a year of harsh jail if he did not pay the fine.

Facts of the case – Shri. Harshal Avinash Joshi (referred to as “the deceased”), Shri. Sunny Paigude (P.W. 5) and Shri. Amit R. Saude (P.W. 6) enjoyed alcohol in an open location beside More Petrol Pump in Kothrud, Pune. At around the same time, the Appellant, Shri. Rohan Vilas Waghchaure (previously Accused No. 2) and Ramesh Kamble (a minor, formerly Accused No. 3) came to the exact location and began drinking alcohol. According to the prosecution, the Appellant became enraged and looked at the dead, prompting the deceased to question him, resulting in a fight between the Appellant and the deceased and their respective acquaintances. The deceased was subsequently pursued by the Appellant and his associates, who were heading towards the adjacent Netrakiran Society. They apprehended the dead in front of Shri. Sambhaji Shirke’s residence (P.W. 7). At that point, the Appellant and his associates began punching and kicking the dead, causing him to scream. The Appellant then took up a nearby brick and slammed it against the deceased’s skull. Several residents came to the scene after the Appellant, and his associates had fled.

Shri. Harshad Badhbade, learned advocate appearing on behalf of the Appellant, contends that the impugned Judgment and order are flawed because they were issued without taking the evidence on record into account in its proper context, in violation of established principles of evidence appreciation in criminal trials, and are based on conjectures and guesses. It was evident from the testimony of the deceased’s friend, Shri. Sunny Paigude (P.W. 5) and Shri. Amit Saude (P.W. 6) was there at the time of the occurrence that the deceased provoked and quarreled with the Appellant initially.

On behalf of the Respondent-State, S. S. Hulke, Assistant Public Prosecutor, supports the challenged Judgment and order, claiming that it was issued appropriately after considering the different facts and circumstances on record. He claims that there are three eyewitnesses to the occurrence: Shri. Sunny Paigude (P.W. 5), Shri. Amit Saude (P.W. 6) (the deceased’s two friends), and Shri Sambhaji Shirke (P.W. 7) (the deceased’s three friends) (owner of the house in front of which the Appellant hit the dead with a brick). He contends that the testimony of these eyewitnesses, who were there at the scene of the occurrence, cannot be discounted.

After reviewing all the facts and shreds of evidence, The Learned Judge is convinced that the Appellant acted in a fit of rage in a way that he knew would likely result in the death of the deceased, but that he did so without intending to murder him. As a result, the Appellant’s conviction for murder is now changed to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, as defined under Section 299 IPC read with Exception 4 of Section 300 IPC. Under Part II of Section 304, the Appellant is sentenced to ten years in jail and a fine of Rs.20,000.00, with an additional six months in prison if he fails to pay the fine.

Click here to view the Judgement

Reviewed by Rangasree

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