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Conversion Of Wife’s Conviction U/S 302 IPC For Burning Husband To Death To S.304: Madhya Pradesh HC

In Rajaram and ors v State of MP (CRA No.38/2012), the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Indore Bench, recently converted the conviction of the Appellants, including the deceased’s wife, under Section 302 to Section 304 IPC for burning the deceased to death, observing that it was done under the heat of passion.

Brief Facts Of The Case: Two appellants held the dead while the appellant/wife poured kerosene on him and lit him on fire. Later, his relatives took him to the hospital, where he died. Before his death, he made precise claims against all appellants/accused in a dying declaration to the Tehsildar.

The lower court found no cause to mistrust the dying declaration of the deceased, notwithstanding the prosecution witnesses’ lack of support. Medical evidence confirmed the dying declaration, the court noted. Lower court convicted appellants under 302/34 IPC. The Appellants, unhappy with their conviction, chose to appeal. The appellants said they weren’t contesting the case’s merits at that point. Even if the dying declaration of the dead was deemed to be accurate, they maintained that he had come to the Appellant/residence wife’s to start a fight. They also said the crime happened in a heat of passion without a premeditated plan to set the victim on fire. The offence did not go beyond Section 304 Part I IPC since it came within Exception 4 of Section 300 IPC. The appellants said they were first-time offenders detained for 11 years. The appellant/wife stated that she was a mother of three and should be freed to settle her life. The State stated that the deceased had 100% burns and that none of the Appellants/Accused came to his assistance. All Appellants shared a common purpose to murder the deceased, hence no court intervention was needed and the appeal was rejected.

Judgement: The Court ruled that the lower court correctly relied on the deceased’s dying declaration after reviewing the parties’ arguments and the trial court’s record. The court next considered whether the crime fell under Section 304 Part I IPC. The Court concluded from the dying man’s declaration that the act was not premeditated. The Court referred to the decision in Ongole Ravikanth v. State of A.P. wherein the Apex Court had dealt with facts similar to the case in hand where the husband poured the kerosene on the wife and set her on fire, found that the incident took place all of a sudden without any pre-intention then the act of the accused is found to be punishable u/s. 304 Part I of the IPC and affirmed the judgement of conviction and sentence passed by the High Court. 

Considering the precedence and the case’s facts, the court ruled that the offence did not exceed Section 304 Part I and that the lower court’s sentence might be lowered. The court released the appellants unless they were needed for another reason. Accordingly, the appeal was partly allowed.

 

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY PRAKIRTI JENA

Click Here To View Judgement

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