Law does not taboo adopting of the alternate plea by accused: SC

Approach of Art.136 Cannot Be Adopted While Deciding Petitions by The High Court Under Art.227: SC

A division bench of Supreme Court comprising of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice KM Joseph remarked that the law does not taboo adopting of the alternate pleas while observing that a murder accused can take a plea that he was not at all involved in the act which resulted in the death of the deceased, but that does not deprive him/her of the right to establish the fact that the case against him would still be embraced within any of the exceptions under Section 300 IPC.

Prior Facts:

Before the Apex Court, the counsel for the accused had confined the submission to the plea of alteration of the conviction under Section 302 of the IPC to under Section 304 Part-II of the IPC.  The accused in this case, along with his mother, was tried for murder of his wife. He was ultimately convicted by the Trial Court, which was later affirmed by the High Court. Both the courts concurrently held that the case of suicide set up by the accused was a completely false plea.

Key features:

  • The bench observed the evidence on record and observed that there is nothing to establish the giving of any provocation leave alone a grave and sudden provocation.
  • The Bench said that the fact that a false case is set up by itself may not deprive an accused of the right to establish the fact that the case against him would still be embraced within any of the exceptions under Section 300 IPC.
  • It also remarked that the law does not taboo adopting of the alternate pleas.
  • It said that ultimately, the question would fall to be decided, no doubt, on the basis of appreciation of evidence and the requirements of law flowing from the particular 24 provision of law.
  • Concluding the judgement, the bench noted that the accused may also be entitled to the benefit of reasonable doubt.

Judgement:

Upholding the judgement of the High Court, the Supreme Court, held that the act of the appellant in the facts of this case clearly show that he has throttled his wife. None of the exceptions in Section 300 are attracted. The act amounts to murder within the meaning of Section 300 of the IPC. Specially remarking that the law does not taboo adopting of the alternate pleas. In addition, the Court held that In cases where the accused is able to establish he is entitled to the benefit of any of the exceptions under Section 300 then his case may be considered under Part-I or Part-II of Section 304 of the IPC depending on whether the act which caused the culpable homicide was done with the intention of causing death or with knowledge that it is likely to cause death.

Edited by J. Madonna Jephi

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

Reference:

  • Case of Paul vs. State of Kerala, Criminal Appeal No. 38 of 2020, decided by the Supreme Court of India
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Vaibhav Goyal is a 3rd year BA.LLB (H) student of UILS, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. He also basically belongs to the “City Beautiful-Chandigarh”. He had interned and have work experience at various Central and State Government bodies of India including the National Human Rights Commission, New Delhi; the Central Information Commission, New Delhi; U.T. Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh, etc. His research projects includes the study on the Right to Emergency Services (PSHRC), Resettlement of Migrant People (NHRC), Implications of RTI in Financial Institutions (CIC), etc. His publications involve articles in different fields of law like administrative, jurisprudence, etc. on online journals including the Juscholars Blog, Burnished Law Journal, etc. His research paper on Prison Reform was published in the Panjab University Journal and his paper was selected in category of best abstract on the topic of Naxalism: A State of Lawlessness and Arbitrariness. He had scored well in various competitions of law consisting of Quiz, Essay Writing, Lecture, Declamation, etc. He had also participated in various conferences including the World Law Forum Conference on Strategic Lawsuits on Public Participation held in New Delhi on Oct 20, 2018 and the National Law Conclave 2020 held at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on Jan 11, 2020.