Tag Archives: indian penal code

Common Object and Common Intention

Common object is different from common intention as it does not require a prior concert and a common meeting of minds before the attack. It is enough if each has the same object in view and their number is five or more and that they act as an assembly to achieve that object. The common object of an assembly is to be ascertained from the acts and language of the members composing it, and from a consideration of all the surrounding circumstances. It may be gathered from the course of conduct adopted by the members of the assembly. What the common object of the unlawful assembly is at a particular stage of the incident is essentially a question of fact to be determined keeping in view the nature of the assembly, the arms carried by the members and the behavior of the members at or near the scene of the incident. It is not necessary under law that in all cases of unlawful assembly, with an unlawful common object, the same must be translated into action or be successful. Under the explanation to section 141, an assembly which was not unlawful when it was assembled, may subsequently become unlawful. It is not necessary that the intention or the purpose, which is necessary to render an assembly an unlawful one comes into existence at the outset. The time of forming an unlawful assembly is not material. An assembly which, at its commencement or even for sometime thereafter, is lawful may subsequently become unlawful. In other words it can develop during the course of incident at the spot eo instante. Ram Lal v. State of U.P., 2016 (92) ACC 399.

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Murder – Aggravating Circumstances and Mitigating Circumstances

In Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 SCC 684, the court referred to the decision in Furman v. Georgia, 33 L Ed 2d 346 : 408 US 238 and noted the suggestion about the aggravating and mitigating circumstances as under:
Aggravating Circumstances.— A court may, however, in the following cases impose the penalty of death in its discretion:
(a) If the murder has been committed after previous planning and involves extreme brutality; or
(b) If the murder involves exceptional depravity; or
(c) If the murder is of a member of any of the armed forces of the Union or of a member of any police force or of any public servant and was committed—
(i) While such member or public servant was on duty; or
(ii) In consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by such member or public servant in the lawful discharge of his duty as such member or public servant whether at the time of murder he was such member or public servant, as the case may be, or had ceased to be such member or public servant; or
(d) If the murder is of a person who had acted in the lawful discharge of his duty under Section 43 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, or who had rendered assistance to a Magistrate or a police officer demanding his aid or requiring his assistance under Section 37 and Section 129 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.”

Mitigating Circumstances.—In the exercise of its discretion, the court shall take into account the following circumstances:
(a) That the offence was committed under the influence of extreme mental or emotional disturbance.
(b) The age of the accused. If the accused is young or old, he shall not be sentenced to death.
(c) The probability that the accused would not commit criminal acts of violence as would constitute a continuing threat to society.
(d) The probability that the accused can be reformed and rehabilitated.
(e) That in the facts and circumstances of the case, the accused believed that he was morally justified in committing the offence.
(f) That the accused acted under the duress or domination of another person.
(g) That the condition of the accused showed that he was mentally defective and that the said defect impaired his capacity to appreciate the criminality of his conduct.” Vasanta Sampat Dupare v. State of Maharashtra, (2015) 1 SCC 253.

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Nature of Injuries

Nature of the injuries is to be determined taking into consideration the intense suffering to which it gives rise and the serious disability which it causes to the sufferer. However, in clause Seventhly of Section 302 Indian Penal Code, as the term “fracture”, has been referred to, it may be necessary that the bone is broken. Mere abrasion would not amount to fracture. Even a cut that does not go across the bone cannot be termed as a fracture of the bone. But if the injury is grave even a partial cut of the skull vault (root or chamber) may amount to a fracture. However, Clause Eighthly of Section 302 Indian Penal Code refers to the injuries which are not covered under any of the above clauses Firstly to Seventhly of the Section. However, it labels the injuries as grievous if it endangers life or it causes the sufferer to be during the space of 20 days in severe bodily pain or which causes the sufferer to be during the space of 20 days unable to follow his ordinary pursuits and all the three clauses have to be read independently. There is a very thin and subtle demarcation line between “hurt which endangers life” and “injury as is likely to cause death”. Sompal Singh and another v. State of Uttar Pradesh, (2014) 7 SCC 316.

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Mere Failure to fulfill a promise – Is not enough to hold a person guilty of cheating

Mere failure to fulfill a promise cannot be a ground to draw proceedings for prosecution under Section 420 Indian Penal Code. The essential ingredient for an offence punishable under Section 420 Indian Penal Code is dishonest misrepresentation on the part of the accused at the time of making promise. In the case of V.P. Srivastava v. Indian Explosives Ltd., (2010) 10 SCC 361, the Apex Court held that mere failure to perform the promise, by itself is not enough to hold a person guilty of cheating. It is necessary to show that at the time of making promise he had fraudulent or dishonest intention to deceive or to induce person so deceived to do something which he would otherwise not do. It was observed that such a culpable intention right at the time of entering into an agreement cannot be presumed merely from his failure to keep the promise subsequently. Govind Chandra Gupta v. State of U.P., 2014 (85) ACC 743.

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Counterfeiting of Currency Notes

The crux of Sections 489-A, 489-C, 489-D and 489-E of the Indian Penal Code is to prevent the counterfeiting of currency notes or bank-notes. For the purpose of application of aforesaid Sections, the following ingredients are necessarily required and are to be strictly interpreted:
(a) To perform any part of process of counterfeiting of currency-notes or bank-notes;
(b) Possession of any forged or counterfeit currency-note or bank-note;
(c) Knowing or having reason to believe the same to be forged or counterfeit;
(d) Performing or intending with intention to use any part of the process of making, buying, selling or dispossessing any machinery, instrument or material for the purpose of being used for forging or counterfeiting any currency-note or bank-note, would be liable for punishment under the aforesaid Act. Anurag Sharma v. State of U.P., 2013 (82) ACC 128.

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Abetment of Suicide

Suicide – Meaning of

The word “suicide” in itself is nowhere defined in the Penal Code, however, its meaning and import is well known and requires no explanation. “Sui” means “self” and “cide” means “killing”, thus implying an act of self-killing. In short, a person committing suicide must commit it by himself, irrespective of the means employed by him in achieving his object of killing himself. M. Mohan v. State, (2011) 3 SCC 626

 

In re DAVIS, DECD., [1968] 1 Q.B. 72, it was held thus:

Suicide is not to be presumed. It must be affirmatively proved to justify the finding. Suicide requires an intention. Every act of self-destruction is, in common language “described by the word ‘suicide,’ provided it be the intentional act of a party knowing the probable consequence of what he is about”: Rolfe B. in Clift v. Schwabe, (1846) 3 C.B. 437

 

Abetment of suicide

Section 306 and107 of the Indian Penal Code read as under:

“306. Abetment of suicide.—If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

 

“107. Abetment of a thing.—A person abets the doing of a thing, who—

First.—Instigates any person to do that thing; or

Secondly.—Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly.—Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.

Explanation 1.—A person who, by wilful misrepresentation, or by wilful concealment of a material fact which he is bound to disclose, voluntarily causes or procures, or attempts to cause or procure, a thing to be done, is said to instigate the doing of that thing.

Illustration

A, a public officer, is authorised by a warrant from a Court of Justice to apprehend Z. B, knowing that fact and also that C is not Z, wilfully represents to A that C is Z, and thereby intentionally causes A to apprehend C. Here B abets by instigation the apprehension of C.

Explanation 2.—Whoever, either prior to or at the time of the commission of an act, does anything in order to facilitate the commission of that act, and thereby facilitates the commission thereof, is said to aid the doing of that act.”

 

In our country, while suicide itself is not an offence considering that the successful offender is beyond the reach of law, attempt to suicide is an offence under Section 309 IPC.

 

 

Ingredients

In order to bring out an offence under Section 306 IPC specific abetment as contemplated by Section 107 IPC on the part of the accused with an intention to bring about the suicide of the person concerned as a result of that abetment is required. The intention of the accused to aid or to instigate or to abet the deceased to commit suicide is a must for this particular offence under Section 306 IPC. Madan Mohan Singh v. State of Gujarat, (2010) 8 SCC 628

 

As per the section, a person can be said to have abetted in doing a thing, if he, firstly, instigates any person to do that thing; or secondly, engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or thirdly, intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing. Explanation to Section 107 states that any wilful misrepresentation or wilful concealment of material fact which he is bound to disclose, may also come within the contours of “abetment”. It is manifest that under all the three situations, direct involvement of the person or persons concerned in the commission of offence of suicide is essential to bring home the offence under Section 306 IPC. Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi), (2009) 16 SCC 605

 

The Apex Court in Ramesh Kumar, (2001) 9 SCC 618 has examined different shades of the meaning of “instigation”. Para 20 thereof reads as under:

20. Instigation is to goad, urge forward, provoke, incite or encourage to do ‘an act’. To satisfy the requirement of instigation though it is not necessary that actual words must be used to that effect or what constitutes instigation must necessarily and specifically be suggestive of the consequence. Yet a reasonable certainty to incite the consequence must be capable of being spelt out. The present one is not a case where the accused had by his acts or omission or by a continued course of conduct created such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide in which case an instigation may have been inferred. A word uttered in the fit of anger or emotion without intending the consequences to actually follow cannot be said to be instigation.”

 

Grounds for Conviction

 

Abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. Without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, conviction cannot be sustained. The intention of the legislature and the ratio of the cases decided by the Apex Court is clear that in order to convict a person under Section 306 IPC there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offence. It also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide seeing no option and that act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he committed suicide. S.S. Chheena v. Vijay Kumar Mahajan, (2010) 12 SCC 190

 

 

 

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