Delhi High Court has held that a paper-cutter would qualify as a 'deadly weapon' for the purpose of securing conviction for committing robbery with an attempt to cause death.
The Single Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru has noted that a deep cut, from a paper-cutter, on a vital part of the body can actually prove to be fatal. He observes:
'Although it is meant for a specific purpose of cutting paper, there is no denying the fact that its blade is very sharp and is capable of delivering a fatal injury.'
In the present appeal, orders of conviction under section 397 as well as the sentence of rigorous imprisonment for 7 years, were challenged by the appellant.
As per the facts established by the prosecution, the appellant had used a paper-cutter to commit robbery of a mobile phone belonging to the victim.
The appellant's counsel had argued that a paper cutter is not a deadly weapon and therefore, even if it is accepted that the appellant had it for the purposes of robbing the complainant, an offence under Section 397 of the IPC was not established.
He further contended that a paper cutter could not be equated with a knife, as it's a stationery item. He submitted that the blade of a paper cutter is not robust and usually breaks if it is met with any resistance.
He relied upon the judgment of the Delhi High Court in Bishan v. The State (1984) wherein it was held that a vegetable knife could not be considered as a deadly weapon.
At the outset, the court had observed that the question which needs to be decided is whether a knife qualifies as a deadly weapon for the purposes of section 397 of IPC.
The court noted that there are one line of cases which follow the view that the question whether a
knife is a deadly weapon is to be determined by various factors, including the design of a knife and the manner in which it was used. However, there was yet another line of cases where this Court had taken a view that a knife of any description is, still, a knife and the same is a deadly weapon.
After perusing the various judgements of the Delhi High Court dealing with the similar subject matter, the court noted that:
'A paper cutter is also a species of knife inasmuch as, it has a handle and a blade. Although it is meant for a specific purpose of cutting paper, there is no denying the fact that its blade is very sharp and is capable of delivering a fatal injury.'
Since, in the present case, the paper cutter was placed on the neck of the complainant, the court accepted the claim of it being a 'deadly weapon' within the ambit of section 397 of IPC. It said:
'Indisputably,such an instrument used as a weapon and placed on the neck of a victim is sufficient to terrorize a victim into yielding under fear of an injury.'
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