The Bombay High Court recently gave the benefit of doubt to an accused convicted of murder, accepting his defence that the murder took place in a heat of passion as he was being forced to perform unnatural sex by the deceased.
A division bench of Justice BR Gavai and Justice SV Kotwal were hearing a criminal appeal filed by the accused who was convicted under Sections 302, 309 and sentenced to life imprisonment. The court concluded–
“If a person is asked to indulge into unnatural sex and assaulted, it is quite probable that such a person in a heat of passion, would assault the person demanding such unnatural act.”
According to one Imran Galab, who is a witness in the case, cries of bachao, bachao (save me) were heard around 4 am on October 20, 2011. Galab’s shop was near the shop of the deceased, who used to supply minced meat. When Galab saw the accused trying to come out of the shop of the deceased, he pushed him inside. This is when Galab saw the deceased lying on the floor smeared in blood. He then latched the door of the shop and went to get the police.
Thereafter, charges were framed against the accused who pleaded not guilty but was later convicted.
Submissions and Order
Accused’s lawyer Payoshi Roy submitted that her client was not challenging the finding of the trial judge that the accused was responsible for the death of the deceased, but the case should fall under Section 304(1) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the Indian Penal Code, not under Section 302.
Roy argued that the deceased had compelled the appellant to indulge into unnatural sex and when her client refused, the deceased started assaulting him with the weapon which was available there. Then the accused snatched the said weapon and received serious injuries in the process. Thereafter, the accused assaulted the deceased ‘in a heat of passion’. Roy submitted that the case would not fall under Section 302 of the IPC but, at the most, under Part-I of Section 304 of the IPC.
Additional Public Prosecutor SV Sonawane argued that the multiple injuries on the deceased’s body prove that the accused had the clear intention of killing the deceased. As for the injuries suffered by the accused, she said they were self-inflicted wounds.
The deceased’s wife, who is also one of the witnesses in the case, stated that the accused used to threaten her husband.
The court noted that the doctor who treated the accused had stated that the injuries that the accused had on his body were serious in nature. He also stated that the accused would have died if there would have been a delay in admitting him to the hospital.
Thus, the court accepted the defence of the accused and said-
“In that view of the matter, we are of the considered view that the Appellant is entitled to the benefit of doubt. The order of conviction under Section 302 of the IPC needs to be altered to one under Par tI of Section 304 of the IPC. The appellant has already undergone the sentence of 6 years and 9 months. We find that the sentence already undergone by the Appellant would subserve the ends of justice.”
As a result, the accused was let off as his sentence was reduced to the period already undergone.