Trial court erred in convicting and sentencing the appellants because they should be given the benefit of the doubt because their actions fell under the category of culpable homicide, not murder is upheld by the Bombay High Court in the case of Sachin Laxman Dandekar v. State of Maharashtra (Criminal Appeal No. 1032 of 2015) through a Division Bench of A S Gadkari and Milind N Jahdav, JJ.
FACTS OF THE CASE
In the instant case, an appeal was filed that questioned the validity of the judgement and found both appellants, a father and a son, guilty of an offence punishable by Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Penal Code, 1860, and sentenced them to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs. 1000 each and, in default, to rigorous imprisonment for one month, under Section 235(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code.
The court noted that although the Trial Court had found and sentenced the appellants in this case for the crime of murder under Section 302 IPC, keeping in mind Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC, which describes circumstances in which culpable homicide does not constitute murder, and on careful examination of the evidence and record of the case, it is apparent that Appellant 1’s daughter had a love affair with a man that was not accepted by his family as a relationship, the court found that this was.
Additionally, it is evident from PW-1’s deposition that Appellant 1 went to the boy’s house and told his family that he would not give his daughter to their son and that they should find him another bride. He also threatened to kill the boy if he continued his lover affair with their daughter, demonstrating that Appellants were against their relationship and took all necessary steps to end it. This also demonstrates that Appellants were furious with the boy as the boy was the cause of their anger.
Given the facts that Appellants 1 and 2 physically attacked the boy, causing a fight to break out, Appellant 2 grabbed the boy’s hands and body from behind, and Appellant 1 struck the boy once in the forehead with a carpenter’s hammer before fleeing on their motorcycle, the Court concluded that since Appellant 1 was a carpenter by trade, it was not unusual for him to carry a hammer.
The Court stated that it is clear that neither of the appellants intended to kill or murder the youngster, but that they both clearly intended to discipline him for maintaining the alliance in question. However, the boy’s injuries from the hammer blow was fatal, which resulted in his demise.
The court concluded that the trial court erred in convicting and sentencing the appellants because they should be given the benefit of the doubt because their actions fell under the category of culpable homicide, not murder, and because by doing so, they acted in a way that they knew would likely result in the death of the boy without intending to kill him. Since both appellants had already served the sentences imposed, the court further ordered their release.
Accordingly, the court overturned the Section 302 IPC conviction order and found the defendants guilty under Section 304 Part-II IPC. The defendants were sentenced to ten years of solitary confinement, a fine of Rs. 25,000 per defendant, and an additional six months of solitary confinement because the court found that the defendants acted in a way that they knew would likely result in the boy’s death without their knowledge.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY NISHTHA GARHWAL