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Criminal Lawyer: If the accused was not in highly inebriated stage, offence u/s 302 IPC cannot be altered; SC.


Supreme Court of India

Justice M R Shah and Justice Ashok Bhushan

The SC { Suraj Jagannath Jadhav v. State of Maharashtra} dismissing the appeal of the accused holds that the decision in the case of Kalu Ram v. State of Rajasthan (2000) 10 SCC 324,  shall not be of any assistance to the accused, more particularly, in absence of any evidence led by the accused that he was in a highly inebriated condition and/or he was such a drunk that he lost all  the senses.

It was held that, however, it is required to be noted that, in the present case, the appellant­ accused poured the kerosene on the deceased when she was trying to run out of the house to save herself and was trying to open the latch of the door of the house, the accused threw the match­stick on her person and set her ablaze. It was held that nothing is on record that the accused was in a highly inebriated stage. Even looking to the conversation which took place   between the deceased   and the accused, so stated in the dying declaration given by the deceased, it can safely be said that the   accused   was   in   very   much   conscious   condition   when   the incident took place. 

Applying  the  law  laid  down  in  the  cases  of Bhagwan Tukaram Dange v. State of Maharasthra  (2014) 4 SCC 270 and Santosh   v.   State   of  Maharashtra (2015) 7 SCC 641 to the facts of the case on hand, the SC held that the manner in which the accused poured the  kerosene on the deceased and thereafter when she was trying to run away from the room to save her, the accused came from behind and threw a match­stick and set her ablaze,  the death of the deceased was a culpable homicide amounting to murder and Section 300 fourthly shall be applicable and not  Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC as submitted on behalf of the accused. 

The SC, therefore, was in complete agreement with the view taken by the learned Trial Court as well as the High Court convicting the accused for  the offence punishable under Section 302 of the IPC. The plea of the accused that the offence falls under Section 304 Part II IPC was rejected.

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