Grievous or Life-Threatening Injury not essential for offence of attempt to murder under Section 307 IPC

The State of Madhya Pradesh Vs Kanha

Supreme Court

04/02/2019

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1589 OF 2018

About/from the judgment:

The Supreme Court has reiterated that in order to establish the commission of an offence of attempt to murder under Section 307 of India Penal Code (IPC), it is not essential that a fatal injury capable of causing death should have been inflicted.

 

The judgment was delivered against a judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

 

The facts of the case are as follows. An altercation took place between two parties. The respondent, with an intention to kill one Dashrath Singh, shot him with a fire-arm and caused bleeding injuries on his right thigh. The brother of Dashrath Singh filed a complaint on the same day at the Gwalior Police Station. It was stated in the complaint that there was enmity between the parties over a love marriage which was opposed by the families as well as a dispute over a disc cable connection business.

 

The allegation against the accused was that armed with deadly weapons, they formed an illegal assembly with a common motive of causing harm to the injured. The charge-sheet was filed under Sections 147 and 307 read with 149 and 323 of the Penal Code. The respondent was found guilty of the offence of attempt to murder under Section 307 of the Penal Code and was sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years along with a fine of Rs. 1,000 by the Trial Court.

 

On appeal, the High Court converted the conviction of the respondent under Section 307 of IPC to Section 324 of IPC and sentenced him to imprisonment for forty days along with a fine of Rs 3,000.

 

The State appealed against the verdict of the High Court.

 

The State contended before the Supreme Court that the High Court had based its verdict on a manifestly incorrect appreciation of the evidence. Eleven puncture wounds were found on the body of the injured.

 

The nature of injuries as well as the weapon of offence clearly proved an intention to commit murder and the hurt caused satisfied the ingredients of Section 307 of the Penal Code.

 

Counsel appearing for the respondent submitted that the nature of the injuries was not explained in the evidence of the prosecution.

 

Further, there was no evidence to prove that the injuries caused to Dashrath Singh were grievous in nature or life threatening. Hence, it was urged by the that they are simple injuries and consequently, the offence will fall under Section 324 instead of 307 of the Penal Code

 

The Court proceeded to place reliance on a plethora of decisions rendered by the Supreme Court on interpretation of Section 307.

 

In State of Maharashtra v Balram Bama Patil, the Supreme Court had held that it is not necessary that a bodily injury sufficient under normal circumstances to cause death should have been inflicted.

 

In State of MP v Saleem, it was held that it is sufficient to justify a conviction under Section 307 if there is an intent coupled with some overt act in execution thereof. It is not essential that bodily injury capable of causing death should have been inflicted.

 

In Jage Ram v State of Haryana, the Supreme Court held that to establish the commission of an offence under Section 307, it is not essential that a fatal injury capable of causing death should have been inflicted.

 

Hence, the Court concluded that grievous or life-threatening injury is not a sine qua non for the offence under Section 307 of the Penal Code.

 

“The intention of the accused can be ascertained 3 (2015) 11 SCC 366 7 from the actual injury, if any, as well as from surrounding circumstances. Among other things, the nature of the weapon used and the severity of the blows inflicted can be considered to infer intent”, the Court held.

 

In the present case, the Court noted that the nature of the injuries showed that there were eleven punctured wounds. The weapon of offence was a firearm. The circumstances of the case clearly indicated that there was an intention to murder. The presence of 11 punctured and bleeding wounds as well as the use of a fire arm leave no doubt that there was an intention to murder, the Court concluded.

 

Hence, the Court set aside the judgment of the High Court and restored the conviction under Section 307.

Read the Judgment

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