State of Andhra Pradesh vs Rayavarpu Punnayya case is related to section 299 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 which deals with ‘Culpable Homicide’ and ‘Murder’. State of AP vs R Punnayya case is a celebrated IPC case that draws a thin line between Culpable Homicide and Murder along with giving the details why these two are different.
Honorable Justice R.S. Sakaria
Honorable Justice Fazal Ali
Honorable Justice Syed Murtaza
DATE OF JUDGMENT
15th September 1971
Section 299, 300, 302 of Indian Penal Code, 1860
FACTS OF THE CASE
- In 1954, there were panchayat elections of Andhra Pradesh between two political rivalry parties. During this, one member of the party was murdered by the opposite party.
- For that, nine members were accused of that murder. There were more incidents like this were happening between the parties in which police force took punitive help.
- There was a meeting held by the deceased opponent leader at his house for the matters going on between the both parties, where they tried to resolve and defend their aggressive actions against them.
- The deceased along with man filed a report to nearby Police Station. On the morning of 23rd July 1968, the deceased and their two members boarded the bus for going to Nekarikal.
- After a few minutes later, the five accused members were boarded on the same bus and they started beating the deceased with sticks harshly and continuously until he became unconscious.
- His companions took him to hospital. Where the Doctor found 19 injuries in his body and sent the information to Judicial Magistrate for recording his dying declaration.
ISSUES PRESENTED BEFORE THE COURT
Whether the accused is held to be guilty under murder or culpable homicide?
CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
Petitioner- The sole contention of the counsel is only that if the accused had no intention to cause death, and the facts established fully fall the case under section 300(3) of IPC, and such offence is committed as murder.
Respondent- In reply to the opposite the counsel contended that the accused selected only no-vital parts of the body of the deceased for inflicting the injuries and they could not be established the mens rea required for bringing the case under section 300 of IPC and it could be said that they had the knowledge that injury inflicted likely to cause death and such case falls under section 299 of IPC which was culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
RATIO DECENDI OF THE CASE
- The Court opined that there is no dispute regarding the death of the accused and there being a direct connection administered by the accused 1 and accused 2 to the deceased and his death.
- Both the accused confined by beating to the legs and arms of the deceased and therefore they had no intention of causing the death of the deceased within the section 299(a) or section 300 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
- High Court reached to the conclusion by stating some reasons. That there was no premeditation attack, and it was an impulsive act. That all the 21 injuries were on arms and legs and not on any vital parts of the body. That no compound fracture was there as to hemorrhage but some bleeding which stopped after some time. That the death had been occurred after 21 hours later which could have been by duly shock and due to hemorrhage. That the accused 1 and 2 used sticks to attack with heavy sticks which doesn’t result in any fracture.
The Trial Judge convicted the accused 1 and 2 under section 302 and, with a reading of section 34 of IPC and sentenced each of them to imprisonment for life.
By appealing to the High Court by convicts The High Court altered the decision of the Trial Judge and reduce their imprisonment to five years of rigorous imprisonment to each by stating that the accused had no intentions to cause death because they deliberately avoid hitting any vital parts of the body of the deceased.
Aggrieved by the decision of the High Court State Authority appeals to the Honorable Supreme Court of the opinion all the conditions pre-requisite for applicability of this clause have been established and offence committed by accused was the instant case of murder.
High Court was in error by altering the conviction of the accused from section 302/34 of IPC to under section 304 of IPC. The Honorable Supreme Court allowed this appeal by restoring the order of Trial Court, convicting the accused for murder with a sentence of imprisonment for life to each.
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