Citations- 2016 SCC 725
Bench: C.V. Nagarjuna Reddy and M.S.K. Jaiswal, JJ.
Appellant: Mohammed Jahangeer
Respondent- The State of Andhra Pradesh
Court- High Court of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
The prosecution laid a charge sheet against the appellant for the offence under Section 302 IPC (Punishment for Murder). After the trial, the learned III Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Hyderabad, convicted and sentenced the appellant to undergo life imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs. 5000/-by his judgement dated 11.06.2010, in SC No. 268 of 2009. Assailing the same, the appellant filed this criminal appeal.
On the night of 2.1.2008, the appellant came to the deceased's house in a drunken state and started quarrelling with her. The neighbours interfered, and for a while, the deceased went to her mother's house, situated nearby, but the appellant followed her and brought her back to his house and closed the doors.
In a fully intoxicated condition, the appellant poured petrol over the deceased in the presence of his two minor daughters and set her ablaze in the bathroom of the house. Unable to bear the pain due to burning injuries, the deceased came running out of her house and rushed to her mother's house. Immediately, her mother and elder sister alerted the Humayunnagar Police, who shifted her to the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) for treatment.
The elder sister of the deceased went to the Humayunnagar Police Station and gave a report, which was registered as Crime No. 5 of 2008 under Section 307 IPC by PW 9-Sub-Inspector of Police. On 4.1.2008, at 08-15 hours, a telephonic message was received from the OGH that the injured had succumbed to injuries on 3.1.2008, at 23-45 hours.
Whether the appellant would not have been aware of what he was doing, that neither intention nor knowledge could be attributed to him
The accused has to lead evidence independently to bring out the fact in the cross-examination that he was in such a drunken state that he could not form any intention of committing the alleged offence.
In cases where insanity is pleaded, where a specific intent is an essential element in the offence, the evidence of the state of drunkenness renders the accused incapable of forming such an intent. Whether it should be taken into consideration in order to determine whether the accused had in fact formed the intent necessary to constitute the particular crime; that if he was so drunk that he was incapable of forming the intent required, he could not be convicted of a crime which was committed if the intent was proved.
The criminal appeal was partly allowed.
The conviction recorded against the appellant in the judgement dated 11.06.2010 for the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC is converted to that of the offence punishable under Section 304 Part-I IPC.
The sentence of life imprisonment imposed against him under Section 302 IPC is modified to that of imprisonment for a period of ten years under Section 304 Part-I IPC while maintaining the sentence of fine imposed against him.
The period of sentencing already undergone by him is directed to be set off.
Finally, mere intoxication cannot be pleaded as a ground for acquittal of the charge of murder. In cases where the intoxication was such that the offender was incapable of forming an intention and having knowledge that the act of the appellant was likely to cause death, intoxication may be taken as a defence and, depending upon the facts of each case, the court will have to make a decision. Where the intention to kill is present, the act amounts to murder; and where such an intention is not present, the act amounts to culpable homicide, not amounting to murder. In order to determine whether the offender had the intention of committing the crime or not, each case must be decided on its own facts and circumstances.
This article is written by Kanishk Chopra of National Law University, Delhi.