Cherubin Gregory vs State of Bihar case involved a negligent act by the accused, which is covered in Section 304A IPC. The case clearly explained the meaning of criminal negligence and what is the value of mens rea in criminal negligence.
AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA AYYANGAR, N. RAJAGOPALA SINHA, BHUVNESHWAR P. (CJ) SHAH, J.C.
- The accused and the deceased houses are next to each other, and they lived in the same colony.
- The day before the incident take place accused house walls broke his house was being exposed to public view deceased came to trespass on the accused land boundaries and operate his bathroom despite several verbal warnings, nothing came to be handy.
- After getting tired from the act of the deceased, the accused set in his garden a-live naked copper electric wire trap to prevent anyone from trespassing his land, giving no warning for the same.
- As always, the deceased came to trespass accused land to use his bathroom, and he got in safely. As he was returning to his home, his hand touched the wire, and he died on the spot.
Whether the act of the accused came under section 304 or 304A IPC?
As we can see that the case is based on a rash and negligent act by the accused. The judges in this case first distinguished between the negligent act and a perfectly well-executed act.
The act of the accused clearly shows that it was a well-executed one, laying a live copper wire in his garden and does not place any warning signs clearly shows the malice intent of the accused as no prudent man of ordinary mind would do such an act. So, putting liability under section 304A is not be justified.
If the current flowing in the wire is reduced to such an extent, it would merely cause someone’s death, then it was justified to say that the act comes under section 304A of IPC.
Now the question arises whether the accused may be held liable under section 299 or 300 IPC?
To hold him liable under the same there are following conditions that must be satisfied i.e., the accused must possess the intention and second thing is knowledge in the present case intention was not present on the part of the accused but knowledge of causing such harm was clearly present as no person is unaware of the fact that live wire with such high voltage could cause grievous hurt, also the accused had a proper idea of the consequences of his action.
This case clearly falls under section 299 part 3 but it would not be justified to give this punishment to the accused because sometimes the accused did something but his intention was not to cause death but merely for his own benefit in such incidence if death awards rigorous punishment for murder or culpable homicide under section 299 and 300 is not justified, eventually, death had to happen so punishment is necessary but of lower degree.
The decision was given on the following grounds-
● the accused fixed up a copper wire across the passage leading up to his latrine,
● that this wire was naked and uninsulated and carried current from the electrical wiring of his house to which it was connected,
● there was no warning that the wire was live,
● the deceased managed to pass into the latrine without contacting the wire but that as she came out her hand happened to touch it and she got a shock as a result of which she died soon after.
There are many cases that draw my attention and one of them is Sarabjeet Singh v State of Uttar Pradesh the accused was part of an unlawful assembly and 11 attacked the opposing party. The accused was part of an unlawful assembly and to take revenge from the deceased father he threw the 4-year-old child which resulted in death, the court held that this is not the case of rash and negligent act because the accused has some knowledge of what would be the consequences of his action. Thus, in this case, the accused was held liable under section 304A of IPC.
Hence, the appeal stands dismissed.