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Heat of passion requires that there must be no time for the passions to cool down to claim the benefit of Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC : Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Bhoora Ahirwar vs Police Station Mohangarh (CRIMINAL APPEAL No. 159 of 2014) upheld that heat of passion requires that there must be no time for the passions to cool down to claim the benefit of Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC.

Facts of the case: Complainant/deceased Jassu sold the land of his house to Asharam of his village whereas accused Bhoora Ahirwar intended to purchase the land, whereupon, he was having enmity. At about 8.30 P.M., deceased Jassu was going for listening Bhajan and on the way, accused Bhoora was lying on the bed (Charpai). As the way was narrow, therefore, he asked the accused to give the way but he started abusing and did not give the way to the deceased. Upon stopping by deceased Jassu, accused Bhoora stood up and assaulted the deceased with lathi on the left side of the head, resultantly, deceased fell down then appellant also caused Lathi blow on thigh of the left leg and right hand. The incident was reported to the police by the deceased himself whereupon the police registered the case under Section 302 of the IPC. 

Counsel for the appellant argued that there was no previous enmity of the accused with the deceased. Story of a dispute about land had been developed later on. He further submitted that even if the whole prosecution story was to be believed to be true then also no offense under Section 302 of the IPC was made out and at the most offense under Section 304 Part-II of the IPC would be made out against the appellant because the incident occurred suddenly without any premeditation and the case of the appellant falls within the exception 4 to Section 300 of the IPC. 

Judgment: The cour held that the witness testimonies do not prove that there was any premeditation to commit murder. None of the said witnesses had said anything about the pre-existing dispute over the sale of land to Asharam, whereas Kailash who are respectively son and wife of the deceased, were supposed to know the real dispute between the two.

The angle of pre-existing dispute over the land which was required just with a view to test the requisite ingredient about the premeditation, but the learned Court below had failed to consider this aspect of the matter and has also not recorded any finding regarding the premeditation. From the statement of the witnesses, it was established that the incident took place suddenly in the heat of passion and without any premeditation as the accused/appellant got annoyed due to a dispute that arose. If in a sudden quarrel a person in the heat of the moment picks up a weapon which is handy and causes injuries out of which only one proves fatal, he would be entitled to the benefit of the Exception provided he has not acted cruelly.

Apart from the incident being the result of a sudden quarrel without premeditation, the law requires that the offender should not have taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner to be able to claim the benefit of Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC. Heat of passion requires that there must be no time for the passions to cool down and in this case, the parties have worked themselves into a fury on account of the verbal altercation in the beginning. The weapon used to inflict the same and the circumstances in which the injury was inflicted do not suggest that the appellant had the intention to kill the deceased. The appellant had the knowledge that the injury inflicted by him was likely to cause the death of the deceased. The case would, therefore, more appropriately fall under Section 304 Part II of the IPC.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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