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Intention To Murder Is Necessary To Invoke Section 307 of the IPC: Bombay High Court

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A single bench of Justice Vinay Joshi of the Nagpur seat of the Bombay High Court pronounced judgment on 29th September 2020 in the case of Ajit & Bhaiyyasaheb Ganpatrao Jadhao v. the State of Maharashtra, wherein the court interpreted the provisions of Section 307 of Indian Penal Code in detail. 

Facts of the Case

This case dates back to the year 2018. There was a rivalry over a piece of agricultural land between two real brothers. On 12th May 2018, an informant went to the cattle shed and found that it was locked by somebody. It was then broken open by the panchayat.

Afterwards, the informant went to a temple and was sitting there when suddenly, the appellant came up and started beating him. The accused then took out a knife and started stabbing the informant repeatedly.

Thereafter, he was admitted to a hospital. An investigation was conducted and the appellant was charged with attempt to murder u/s 307 IPC and was upheld by the session’s court. The accused further appealed to the High Court.

Appellant’s Arguments

The counsel of the accused/appellant submitted the following arguments:

  1. The eyewitnesses turned hostile, which was ignored by the trial court.
  2. The accused could have been held liable u/s 324 IPC (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons) and not 307 of IPC as no grievous hurt was caused to the informant. 

Respondent’s Arguments

The counsel of the prosecution/respondent submitted the following arguments:

  1. The evidence which was submitted by the victim/informant was enough to establish the guilt of the accused.
  2. There was an adequate motive as there was a rivalry.
  3. Medical evidence supports the prosecution case.

Court’s Observations

The court made the following observations:

    • Though two Prosecution witnesses turned hostile, they supported the case of the prosecution as they admitted a quarrel between the two brothers.
    • The evidence of the injured eye witness always stands on a high pedestal.
    • The statement of the informant was supported by FIR and medical reports.
    • The argument of the appellant that the charge of section 307 IPC cannot be sustained as there was no grievous hurt caused to the informant is not a valid ground. Causing grievous hurt is not a sine qua non under 307. The same was held by SC in the State of Maharashtra .v. Balram Bama Patil and others
    • In order to bring the charge of section 307 IPC, mere inflicting of injuries is not sufficient. There should be an intention or knowledge to murder the prosecutor. The same was held in Hari Kishan and State of Haryana v. Sukhbir Singh and others.

Court’s Decision

After taking into consideration all the evidence, the court held that the trial court was correct in prosecuting the accused u/s 307 IPC as his acts are squarely covered under the same. The court also took into consideration his aliments and therefore modified the sentence by sentencing 3 years of imprisonment instead of 5 years and increased the fine to Rs. 60,000.

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