Death By Single Stab Wound Can Be Considered Murder If Ingredients Of S.300 IPC Are Fulfilled : Supreme Court

Gyanvi Khanna

10 July 2024 7:13 AM GMT

  • Death By Single Stab Wound Can Be Considered Murder If Ingredients Of S.300 IPC Are Fulfilled : Supreme Court

    The Supreme Court (on July 08), while upholding the conviction of an accused/ present appellant, highlighted that even a death caused by a single stab can be considered as a murder if other requirements of section 300 (Murder) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, are fulfilled. The Bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Justice Pankaj Mithal was deciding a criminal appeal preferred by...

    The Supreme Court (on July 08), while upholding the conviction of an accused/ present appellant, highlighted that even a death caused by a single stab can be considered as a murder if other requirements of section 300 (Murder) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, are fulfilled.

    The Bench of Justices Dipankar Datta and Justice Pankaj Mithal was deciding a criminal appeal preferred by the appellant who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering a member of 'Anti-Liquor Movement'.

    As per the prosecution's stance, the victim, including other members, persuaded the public to give up drinking alcohol. However, due to some altercation and to put an end to this movement, the appellant and other co-accused reached the place of the incident where victim was also present. Therein, they pulled him to the ground and stabbed him with a dagger.

    The appellant was convicted of a charge of murder by the Trial Court. Having the same been upheld by the High Court, he approached the Top Court.

    The appellant, among other things, had questioned the credibility of prosecution witnesses. However, the Court refused to take such inconsistencies into account. It reasoned that during the attack, there were around 15 people who were part of the unlawful assembly. Based on this, the Court acknowledge that the witnesses cannot be expected to provide accurate recollection of the events.

    The Court held that minor discrepancies in the testimonies would not erode its credibility. Adverting to the motive, the Court said that the accused persons had aimed to “throttle the voice of the victim.” To quote from the judgment:

    In the present case, there is evidence to the effect that the appellant was part of an unlawful assembly which gathered at the place of occurrence. The victim had in mind bringing a thriving trade in liquor to be brought to a grinding halt. There was, thus, definite motive for the accused persons including the appellant to throttle the voice of the victim.”

    Perusing the testimonies, the Court said that its faith in the credibility and reliability of the witnesses is unshaken. To support its observations, the Court also opined that as per the established principle of law, there are no particular number of witnesses required. Therefore, it is not the law that a conviction cannot be recorded unless there is oral testimony of at least two witnesses matching with each other., the Court said.

    Taking a cue from this, the Court further observed that even an evidence by a solitary witness can form a basis of conviction.

    We hold, without equivocation, that the prosecution has been able to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant was the person who stabbed the victim during the course of the attack by the accused persons leading to his death.,” the Court concluded.

    The Court also rejected appellant's submission that only one of the eight injuries sustained by the victim was grievous and the rest were simple. For this, the Court relied on the precedent of Stalin v. State., (2020) 9 SCC 524. Therein, it was held that even a death caused by a single stab can be considered as murder if other requirements of section 300 (Murder) of Indian Penal Code, 1860, are fulfilled.

    Taking all these findings into account, the Court held that not only the intention but also the fatal injury to cause death has been established.

    Fulfilment of any one condition of section 300, IPC is enough to convict the appellant under section 302 thereof, but in the present case not one but two conditions have clearly been shown to exist to nail the appellant for murder.,” the Court said before cancelling his order of bail and giving him three weeks' time to surrender.

    Case Details: JOY DEVARAJ v. STATE OF KERALA., CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 32 OF 2013

    Citation : 2024 LiveLaw (SC) 448

    Click here to read the judgment 

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