In The Supreme Court of India
Dilip Kumar Mondal & Anr v. State Of West Bengal
Citation: (2015) 3 SCC 433
Related Provision: Exception 1 and 4 to Section 300
The complainant was working in an adjacent field with his two sons when his brother and his brother’s son entered into a field of another and the moment they touched its borders an argument between the brother and the owners of the field began. Injuries were inflicted by the appellants on the deceased and his son as well as the sons of the complainant; the brother of the complainant later died of his injuries.
A case was registered under Section 302/34 IPC and 326/34 IPC against the accused persons and the sessions court has convicted the appellants under the above sections. Aggrieved by the conviction, the appellants filed an appeal before the High Court of Calcutta which confirmed the conviction of the appellants under Section 302/34 IPC and the sentence of life imprisonment was imposed on them after which they moved to the Supreme Court.
- They contended that the testimonies of the witnesses were unreliable as it was inconsistent.
- They also contended this case was brought forward only due to a political rivalry.
- They contended that the testimonies of the witnesses were reliable and there was no material contradiction.
- They contended that there was no political rivalry.
- Lastly, the respondent’s contended that the accused were already armed with deadly weapons.
- With regards to the testimony of witnesses, the court held that the testimonies of the complainant could be relied upon even though he left out a detail as he was under great stress and could not be expected to remember every detail. The testimonies of both the son of the deceased and the complainant’s son were held to be valid as nothing substantial was elicited from them during cross-examination to discredit their evidence.
- The appellants have not given any evidence to support their plea of political rivalry and thus it holds no weight.
- The court altered the conviction from Section 302 to Section 300 as there was no premeditation as the altercation was due to a sudden fight, therefore Exception 4 of Section 300 is to be invoked.
In order to invoke the applicability of Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC, the following conditions are to be satisfied:
- the incident was a sudden fight and there was no premeditation
- in the heat of passion;
- without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner.
The first condition is what separates Exception 1 and Exception 4 of Section 300, in Exception 4 there must be a sudden fight where the parties of the altercation are equally guilty and not one party can be blamed for unilaterally starting it while in Exception 1, it is due to one person starting the provocation. Accordingly the court points out that the appellant had warned the deceased not to enter the field and the fight had started just as he did and the fact that the accused carried weapons was because they were on their way to the field for agricultural work and it is only natural to bring farm tools, lastly, the court held that considering the injuries it cannot be said that the accused have taken undue advantage of the situation, thus all the condition of Section 300 Exception 4 are fulfilled.
In this case the Supreme Court has analysed the application of Section 300, the court has provided a clear-cut line between Exception 1 and 4- both of which deal with homicides which are not premeditated-but the court has stated that the difference lies in the fact that in case of Exception 4, there is a sudden fight, the parties to which are equally responsible for said fight which is not the case for Exception 1.
About the author: Neitseizonuo is a second-year law student at Hidayatullah National Law University.
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