SC: Absence of intention is not conclusive in murder or culpable homicide

The Hon’ble Supreme Court, on 18th March 2020, in the matter of Bhagwan Singh v. State of Uttarakhand observed that in cases of culpable homicide or murder, absence of intention to cause death or bodily injury which is in the ordinary course of nature likely to cause death is, not conclusive. What is required to be seen is whether the act is one where the offender must be deemed to have had the knowledge that he was likely, by such act, to cause death.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:

Sections 299 as well as 300, IPC provide for situations in which death is caused by an act with the intention of causing death or such bodily injury which the offender knows is likely to cause death. Both Sections 299 and 300 deal with instances in which death is caused by an act with the intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause death of the person to whom injury is inflicted. These provisions also deal with cases where there is no intention of either causing death or a bodily injury which is ordinarily sufficient to cause death. (Para 14)

The absence of intention to cause death or bodily injury which is in the ordinary course of nature likely to cause death is, therefore, not conclusive. What is required to be seen is whether the act is one where the offender must be deemed to have had the knowledge that he was likely, by such act, to cause death. (Para 14)

Incidents of celebratory firing are regretfully rising, for they are seen as a status symbol. A gun licensed for self-­protection or safety and security of crops and cattle cannot be fired in celebratory events, it being a potential cause of fatal accidents. Such like misuse of fire arms convert a happy event to a pall of gloom. (Para 17)

In cases of celebratory firing at a marriage, the accused cannot escape the consequences of carrying the gun with live cartridges with the knowledge that firing at a marriage ceremony with people present there was imminently dangerous and was likely to cause death. (This inference has been drawn on the basis of Para 17)

Copy of judgement: Judgement_18-Mar-2020

-Adv. Tushar Kaushik

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