EMPEROR vs MT DHIRAJIA Case Summary (1940 SC)

EMPEROR vs MT DHIRAJIA Case Summary (1940 SC)

Emperor vs MT Dhirajia case deals with the criminal law concept of Indian Penal Code 1860, in which a comparison of Section 299(c) with Section 300(4) has been drawn. For committing an offence under criminal law concept of mens rea is there to punish the convict for the offence which the offender did. This case falls under section 299, 300 of IPC, 1860, which deals with Culpable Homicide and Murder.

BENCH

Hon’ble Justice Braund

DATE OF JUDGMENT

04th June 1940

RELEVANT SECTIONS

Section 299, 300, 302,304, and 309 of Indian Penal Code, 1860

FACTS OF THE CASE

  • The Accused i.e. Mt Dhirajia, was a married woman and lived with her husband named Jhagga in a village. They had a six months old daughter.
  •  That the husband did not treat his wife well and they often quarrel with each other. The husband also threatened to beat his wife. That her husband doesn’t like that she would go to their parent’s house in Bhagatua.
  • Later that night, when Jhagga woke up and find that his wife and child were both missing.
  • He went on for searching them outside and saw her wife and the child close to the railway line where she was making her way along the path.
  • When she saw her husband was following him, she ran away in panic and ran to some distance by holding their baby in her arms and either jumped or fell into the deep well which was a little distance from the path.
  •  The child died from this incident while the woman was rescued and might have few injuries.

CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES

Accused- The Accused contended her husband threatened to beat and quarrel between them. Therefore, she fled away and jumped into the well from the fear of her husband.

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ISSUES PRESENTED BEFORE THE COURT

  • Whether this act of jumping into the well was to commit suicide?
  • Whether she will be convicted for murder of her own child?

RATIO DECENDI OF THE CASE

The Honorable Justice Braund was of the opinion that it was perfectly clear with statement of fact. There was a possibility on advice that she changed her story and alleged that she fell into the well by accident.

By stating those facts, we consider that the Learned Sessions Judges ought to have considered that whether it satisfies the charges for murder and attempted suicide and if not, what was the offence of the woman.

The Court was satisfied that there was no intention was ever-present in her mind. But we consider that what she did, she did with the knowledge that she was likely to do such an act which causes death.

The act of jumping into well with sex months old child holding in one’s arm can. In our conclusion, we regret we assume that the consequence was in the knowledge, but not within the intention of Mt. Dhirajia. For these reasons, Court concluded this as an offence of culpable homicide.

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DECISION

The Session Judges of Benares charged the accused with murder and later on the same time she was attempted for suicide by the Jury.

The result of the trial of the jury was that she was found not guilty of attempting suicide. The Learned Sessions Judge was not agreed with the verdict of the jury upon the charge of committing suicide and therefore referred the case with the recommendation that the verdict of the jury shall be set aside and the appellant should be convicted under section 309 and 302 of IPC.

The High Court of Allahabad was of the opinion that Mt. Dhirajia had no intentions to kill the child and her act resulted from panic. Here, she was rightly acquitted under section 309 of IPC, 1860.

Further, the High Court stated they cannot accept Sessions Judge’s verdict and stated that the appellant’s conviction under section 302 of IPC was set aside and substituted it under section 304 of IPC.

It is obvious from the facts that this is not the case for severe punishment. Unfortunately, the woman has already been in prison for eight months and High Court deemed she should be sentenced to six months of rigorous imprisonment, which in effect means that she will be released at once unless she is proven guilty of some other charges.

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Harry Rana

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