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'Kirpan' Part Of Religious Belief ; Fact That It Can Be Used As Weapon Does Not Ipso Facto Make It A Weapon Of Offence: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
8 Aug 2021 9:28 AM GMT
Kirpan Part Of Religious Belief ; Fact That It Can Be Used As Weapon Does Not Ipso Facto Make It A Weapon Of Offence: Supreme Court
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The fact that kirpan carried by members of a specific community as part of religious belief can also be used as a weapon of offence, does not ipso facto make it a weapon of offence, the Supreme Court observed while acquitting an accused of murder charge.The case arise out of an incident happened in the year 1999. The appellant Om Prakash Singh and a co- accused were fighting amongst...

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The fact that kirpan carried by members of a specific community as part of religious belief can also be used as a weapon of offence, does not ipso facto make it a weapon of offence, the Supreme Court observed while acquitting an accused of murder charge.

The case arise out of an incident happened in the year 1999. The appellant Om Prakash Singh and a co- accused were fighting amongst themselves while playing cricket and the deceased tried to intervene to pacify them. According to prosecution, the same night the deceased was assaulted with a kirpan allegedly by the first accused while the appellant held the deceased.  The first accused was convicted under Section 302 Indian Penal Code while the appellant was convicted under Sections 302,34, IPC. 

One of the contentions raised in appeal before the Apex Court was that the appellant was unaware that the first accused was carrying a kirpan. It was further contended that a kirpan is not a weapon of assault, but is carried on person by individuals of a specific community as part of a religious belief. On the other hand, the State contended the appellant had that held the deceased while the co-accused stabbed and had he not held the deceased, he could have possibly run away to save his life.

Referring to evidence on record, the bench observed that there is no evidence that the appellant was aware that the co-accused was a carrying a kirpan and intended to use it for assault. Therefore it is not possible to draw any inference that by his utterances the appellant intended a murderous assault on the deceased and held him to facilitate the same. the bench added.

"It has rightly been urged on behalf of the appellant, that a kirpan is normally carried on person by members of a specific community as part of religious belief. The fact that it can also be used as a weapon of offence, does not ipso facto make it a weapon of offence. ", the court observed.

Observing thus, the bench said that the conviction of the appellant under Section 302/34 IPC is not sustainable because existence of a common intention to kill the deceased has not been established. We therefore, alter his conviction to under Sections 324, 110 IPC and sentence him to the period undergone, the court added.


Case: Om Prakash Singh vs State Of Punjab ; CrA 1039 OF 2015
Citation: LL 2021 SC 360
Coram: Justices Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy
Counsel: Adv Rishi Malhotra for appellant, Adv Jaspreet Gogia for state


Click here to Read/Download Judgment




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