"Possibility Of Accused Being Short Tempered" : Supreme Court Modifies Conviction Of SRK's Security Guard Who Killed Colleague

Update: 2022-08-09 13:16 GMT

In a judgment delivered last week , the Supreme Court took into account the possibility of the accused being short tempered to modify his conviction to Section 302 IPC to Section 304 Part 1 IPC.

"It cannot be disputed that how a person responds to a particular situation would depend upon the temperament of a particular person. A hot tempered person may react differently as compared to a cool headed person", the bench comprising Justices BR Gavai and PS Narasimha observed.

Yatendrasingh Ajabsingh Chauhan was working as a security guard at Mannat Bungalow owned by Bollywood star Shahrukh Khan. The deceased Chandrapratap Singh and other security guards were also deployed at the said bungalow. On the night of 14th August 2006, deceased Chandrapratap Singh questioned the accused as to why was he sitting in the chair and whether his revolver was filled with bullets or not. He also asked the accused as to whether his fire arm was working or not. The accused in anger held Chandrapratap Singh with collar and then pulled the trigger of the revolver which was pointed at his chest due to which Chandrapratap Singh fell down. Another security guard lodged FIR and the accused was charged for murder. The Trial Court convicted him under Section 302 IPC.

The Bombay High Court dismissed the appeal observing that even though there was no premeditation, it is not a case of grave and sudden provocation. "The intention does not require premeditation but intention can be formed within a couple of minutes. The intention can be gathered on the basis of the act itself. In the present case, the accused was working as a security guard. He was holding licence of revolver. He was fully aware of the power of the firearm. He pointed the revolver at the chest, i.e., vital part of the body of the deceased and fired the revolver. He was fully aware of the consequence of his act and the injury is fatal and sufficient to cause death. The deceased died instantaneously.", it was observed.

Before the Apex Court, the appellant through Senior Advocate S.R. Singh contended that, he did not have any intention to commit the murder of the deceased. He submitted that in an altercation between the accused and the deceased, the accused on being provoked by the deceased lost his control and unintentionally shot the deceased. Advocate Rahul Chitnis, appearing on behalf of the State of Maharashtra, opposed the appeal and contended that on mere asking by the deceased as to whether his revolver was working or not, the security guard was not expected to shoot point blank at one of his colleagues.

The bench observed that the question whether the accused had an intention to commit the murder of the deceased or not would depend upon a combination of several factors.

"There cannot be a straight­jacket formula for deciding whether there was intention to commit the murder or not. Similarly, as to whether there was a grave and sudden provocation which would lead an accused to lose his power of self­control would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. It cannot be disputed that how a person responds to a particular situation would depend upon the temperament of a particular person. A hot tempered person may react differently as compared to a cool headed person....
.....A perusal of the material placed on record would clearly reveal that there was no premeditation and that there was an altercation between the deceased and the appellant. The deceased questioned the appellant as to whether his revolver was filled with bullets or not. He also questioned as to whether his fire arm was working or not. The possibility of the appellant being short tempered and responding in an unfortunate manner cannot be ruled out. Unfortunately, a loaded weapon was provided to the appellant by his employer. There is no doubt that the appellant should have exercised caution and controlled himself. However, as already discussed  hereinabove, the response to a particular situation may differ from person to person."

Observing thus, the bench modified the conviction to Section 304 Part 1 IPC.  Noticing the fact that the accused served the sentence for more than 8 years, it said that the same would be sufficient. The court also ordered release of the accused forthwith, if not required in any other case.

Case details

Yatendrasingh Ajabsingh Chauhan vs State of Maharashtra | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 664 | CrA 822 OF 2018 | 4 August 2022 | Justices BR Gavai and PS Narasimha

Headnotes

Indian Penal Code, 1860 ; Section 300 Exception 1 - Whether there was a grave and sudden provocation which would lead an accused to lose his power of self­ control would depend upon the facts and circumstances of each case. It cannot be disputed that how a person responds to a particular situation would depend upon the temperament of a particular person. A hot tempered person may react differently as compared to a cool headed person. (Para 8)

Indian Penal Code, 1860 ; Section 300, 302 - Whether the accused had an intention to commit the murder of the deceased or not would depend upon a combination of several factors. There cannot be a straight­jacket formula for deciding whether there was intention to commit the murder or not - Referred to Pulicherla Nagaraju Alias Nagaraja Reddy v. State of A.P. (2006) 11 SCC 444. (Para 7-8)

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