The Supreme Court Bench of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice Nageswara Rao set aside the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which converted the conviction of the Respondents from Section 307 to Section 324 of the Indian Penal Code, on the grounds that the intention or knowledge of the Respondents to commit actions, which they know might cause death, shall be sufficient for the application of the provisions of Section 307 IPC. In the SLP filed by the appellant, it was contended that the High Court had converted the conviction of the Respondents on the grounds that the injuries inflicted were on “unimportant parts” of the Complainant/Appellant’s body and that the Accused/Respondents would never cause injuries over ‘unimportant parts’ of the body if they had the intention to commit murder.

The facts in brief were that the Accused/Respondents attacked and assaulted the Complainant/Appellant resulting in injuries in the areas of the chest, scapula, back and hips. The Sessions Court found the Respondents guilty of committing the offence under Section 307 and accordingly sentenced them with 5 years rigorous imprisonment and fine. This judgment was overturned by the High Court, which was challenged before the Apex Court on the ground that the High Court had erred in converting the conviction of the Respondents.

The Bench referred to its judgment in R.  Prakash v.  State of Karnataka (2004) 9 SCC 27 which held that:

“…..It is sufficient to justify a conviction under Section 307 if there is present 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. Although the nature of injury actually caused may often give considerable assistance in coming to a finding as to the intention of the accused, such intention may also be deduced from other circumstances, and may even, in some cases, be ascertained without any reference at all to actual wounds. The Section makes a distinction between the act of the accused and its result, if any. The Court has to see whether the act, irrespective of its result, was done with the intention or knowledge and under circumstance mentioned in the Section.” (emphasis supplied)

The Bench also relied on the judgment in Jage Ram v. State of Haryana (2015) 11 SCC 366 which held that

“ To justify a conviction under Section 307 IPC, it is not essential that fatal injury capable of causing death should have been caused. Although the nature of injury actually caused may be of assistance in coming to a finding as to the intention of the accused, such intention may also be adduced from other circumstance. The intention of the accused is to be gathered from the circumstances like the nature of the weapon used, words used by the accused at the time of the incident, motive of the accused, parts of the body where the injury was caused and the nature of injury and severity of the blows given etc.”

The Bench concluded that the High Court had erred in reducing the sentence to the Respondent/Accused No 1 and directed him to serve the remainder of his 5 year sentence and further upheld the order on the conviction of the Respondent/Accused No 2 accordingly.

 

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Judgment: State of MP Versus Harjeet Singh