15 Oct 2022 4:51 AM GMT
The Bombay High Court set aside the life sentence awarded to a carpenter and his son in an honour killing case and instead held them guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It observed that the duo just wanted to "teach the victim a lesson" for continuing the relationship with the girl. The bench held the duo's actions of first accosting, assaulting, then overpowering...
The Bombay High Court set aside the life sentence awarded to a carpenter and his son in an honour killing case and instead held them guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It observed that the duo just wanted to "teach the victim a lesson" for continuing the relationship with the girl.
The bench held the duo's actions of first accosting, assaulting, then overpowering and striking the woman's 20-year-old suitor with a hammer, and finally fleeing the scene when people gathered, in the accused's favour. The victim belonged to a different caste.
"It is discernible that it could not have been the intention of Appellants to kill and murder Sakharam but certainly both Appellants wanted to teach him a lesson and reprimand him for continuing with the said alliance. The injury caused to Sakharam by blow of hammer was however fatal leading to his death."
The division bench of Justices AS Gadkari and Milind Jadhav partly allowed the appeal filed by the carpenter and his son, and sentenced the father to 10-years imprisonment, and the period already undergone for the brother regarding the killing in 2011. Earlier booked under section 302 of the IPC, their sentence was reduced to 304(II) of the IPC for culpable homicide.
In its judgement the bench held the father's profession in his favour to say it wasn't unusual for him to carry a hammer. Moreover, the fact that they didn't kill the young man at the first go, and first assaulted him indicated they were not there to murder him. The court held their act of giving only one strike and running away from the scene as not being "cruel" towards him.
"The act of killing Sakharam happened on the road when he was accosted by Appellants. Certainly, this cannot be a premeditated and planned act. Further because of the relationship between Sakharam and Jyostna, Appellants were enraged with Sakharam for having continued his alliance with Jyostna and this was the very reason for confronting Sakharam.
…There were abuses and kick blows given to him and thereafter Appellant No. 1 (father) reached to his motorcycle took out the hammer (which is the carpenter's principal tool) from the boot of his motorcycle and inflicted its singular blow on Sakharam's forehead. After inflicting the singular blow, Appellants did not take any undue advantage or act in a cruel or unusual manner but were frightened since bystanders gathered at the spot."
The prosecution examined 10 witnesses in the case including an eye witness. He deposed that on January 22, 2011 he was returning from his daily labour job at around 5:30 p.m. and victim Sakharam was ahead of him on his bicycle. When they reach the boundary of the village Karajgaon, the carpenter and his son stopped and accosted Sakharam on the road and assaulted him. Even after they hit him with a hammer and he fell to the ground the duo continued to assault him. The eye witness' description matched with the doctor's testimony, the bench noted.
However, the advocate representing the accused argued that the prosecution failed to prove the relationship between the couple. In response the prosecution cited the testimony of the eye witness and other prosecution witnesses who depose that the brother had in fact threatened to kill Sakhram.
Noting another incident wherein the father visited Sakhram's house and told his family to look for another bride for their son, the court observed, "it can be evidently seen that Appellants were against their relationship and did everything possible to break the same. This clearly shows that Appellants were enraged with Sakharam as the affair was continuing."
Citing exception 4 to section 300, the bench observed, "in our opinion, the act of inflicting a singular blow with the hammer on Sakharam's forehead by Appellant No. 1 can be said to have been inflicted in a heat of passion and on the spur of the moment due to the motive, but certainly cannot be a premeditated and planned act to murder him."
Case Title: Sachin Laxman Dandekar Versus State of Maharashtra
Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 388
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