Extending the protection of right of self-defence to a woman protecting her minor daughter from being raped, the Delhi High Court on Friday acquitted a woman and her male companion sentenced to life for murder.
Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Siddharth Mridul directed the release of the woman named Madhu and her companion Virender, who were held guilty of murder of one Satender alias Nanhe, by judgment dated March 21.
Before the high court in appeal, Madhu’s counsel contended that the right of private defence of the body of a mother's daughter extends to voluntary causing of death, if the offence which occasioned the exercise of the right was an assault with intention of committing rape.
Virender also contended that there was no intention of committing murder, which took place in September, 2008, and it was only an attempt to save the minor girl from being raped.
“A perusal of the prosecution evidence itself reveals that when the deceased tried to sexually molest the daughter of appellant Madhu, a scuffle ensued wherein Madhu received an injury, where-after a further scuffle ensued between the deceased and Virender as a consequence, whereof due to the grappling and manual strangulation of the neck, the deceased fell down.
“In view of the nature of injury which was not pre-determined but on the spur of the moment, it cannot be held that there was common intention of the appellants Madhu and Virender to commit murder of the deceased. Therefore, the impugned judgment convicting the appellants for offence punishable under Section 302/34 IPC cannot be sustained,” the bench held.
The division bench of the high court noted the prosecution version, including the statement of Madhu’s daughter, who goes by initial ‘K’ in the judgment, to say that the state’s version itself reveals that theirs was no intention on part of the convicts to commit the crime.
The bench noted from K’s statement that Madhu and Nanhe lived together for about 10 years prior to the incident. Madhu and Nanhe started quarreling when the latter misbehaved with K. They then started living separately and then Virender joined them.
Nanhe started visiting them once again. On the date of the incident she with her mother, Virender, Sumit and another person were present in the house. While they were sleeping, Nanhe again misbehaved with her. Madhu also woke up and a quarrel ensued between them.
Nanhe caught hold of Madhu by her neck and pushed her to the wall. Virender intervened and grappling continued for some time, after which Nanhe fell down on the floor and became unconscious.
The bench also noted that no weapon was used and post-mortem report proved that death was caused due to asphyxia.