Refusal of marriage proposal cannot be ‘Grave and Sudden Provocation’ for murder: Karnataka HC

Inquiry of Project by Isha Foundation 'Cauvery Calling' as govt project: Karnataka High Court

The defence of ‘grave and sudden provocation’ taken by a jilted lover who murdered a girl on her refusal to accept his marriage proposal, is been rejected by the Karnataka High Court.

Justice Sunil Dutt Yadav and Justice P Krishna Bhatt said that, “To permit the accused to take a defence of ‘grave and sudden provocation’ in the facts and circumstances of this case apart from being “obnoxious”, will result in negation of the fundamental rights of the deceased under Articles 14, 19 (1) (a) and 21 of the Constitution of India and, as such, opposed to public policy.”

“Extending the protective umbrella of ‘grave and sudden’ provocation to the accused, in the facts and circumstances of this case, will have the effect of robbing the victim of her right to express her `choice’.” Bench added.

Upholding the session court order of 2016, court made these observations. Court dismissed the appeal against the conviction, handing life sentence to Vijay @Vijendra Suravase.

On April 27 2009, as per the prosecution case, accused entered the house of deceased Pushpa and started telling the victim to marry him and threatened her if she does not do so he will not let her marry anyone else. When Victim refused to his proposal, he stabbed her with knife in chest, abdomen, shoulder etc, causing her serious injuries. Victim succumbed to the injuries in the hospital

He (accused) was trying to assert some kind of domain over CW.1 (Pushpa) only because he was a male and he was unwilling to reconcile to the situation that CW.1 as a woman could rebuff the same and assert her individual autonomy and agency to take a decision on the choice of her life partner.” the bench said on going through the evidence.

It added, “The circumstance in which he had committed the offence clearly shows that he could not stand the fact that a woman could refuse his proposal to marry him. In such a situation, it is completely absurd to contend that there was grave and sudden provocation from the side of the deceased especially when, while she was rejecting the proposal what she was essentially doing was asserting her individual autonomy which was entirely legitimate for her to do.”

Bench also noted that the accused entered house fully armed and was determined to not take a “NO” as an answer.

Court added,

“Accused has betrayed utter disdain to the inherent right of C.W.1 as a human; to her individual autonomy to choose who to love and to her right to choose a husband and even, to defer to the wishes of her parents in matters of significance in her life, which in itself is a conscious “choice”. This in essence is a fundamental right guaranteed to every individual under Articles 14, 19 (1) (a) and 21 of Constitution of India.”

Bench opined,
“We are even more conscious of the ‘felt necessities of the time’ that wherever text does not inhibit and context demands, ordinary laws of the land should be given such construction and, the scope of defences available so mapped that lofty principles enshrined under the above Articles are given full effect to and dehumanizing effect of the defences are suitably pruned without doing violence to the statute creating such defence while at the same time making it resonate with the current understanding of the concept of gender justice and dignity of the individual.”

Quoting ‘The Declaration of Independence’ of July 4, 1776, the bench said “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness is an entitlement and a right without which there cannot be a ‘right to life’ for an individual and shorn of the same, it will only be a creature’s existence.”

“The defence of ‘grave and sudden’ provocation shall not avail an accused if the result of permitting such a defence is to dehumanise the person of the victim, stultify her individual autonomy, agency, and dignity.”Court concluded.


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“An Investment in Knowledge pays the best interest”. I Ms. Sakshi Patil currently pursuing Bachelors of Law (LLB) from Pune University ,and I believe that Knowledge is a commodity to share and it should be not remain the monopoly of selected few. Studying Law helps me understand how society is govern and how law acts as medicine to heal the society. Keeping positive and open minded approach in every aspect of life is the aim and I hope to learn with every opportunity and can help to those in need and create awareness among people about law and its importance. As quoted by Henry Ward Beecher, ”A Law is valuable not because it is a law ,but because there is right in it.”