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Shankar Narayan Bhadolkar vs State of Maharashtra AIR 2004 SC 1996

Authored by - Vasundra V.

Keywords - Culpable homicide, IPC exceptions, Arms Act.


Culpable homicide is the intention of causing death as mentioned in the Indian Penal Code. This article is to analyze the facts and the judgment of the Shankar Narayan Bhadolkar vs State of Maharashtra case in depth which talks about murder under general exceptions. This case finds a struggle between culpability and exceptions of misfortune under IPC.


In this case of Shankar Narayan Bhadolkar, the appellant had pled in the Supreme Court to prove that in the given facts and circumstances, the murder came under general exceptions under Section 80 of IPC. When the deceased responded to the invitation and came over, the appellant allegedly shot him dead by the gun in his house.

Background of the Case

This case happened in the year of 1982 which got its final judgment from the Supreme Court of India on 9th March 2004. The Appellant proceeded with the plea to the Supreme Court of India under Section 80 of IPC after the judgments from the lower courts. The Trial Court found the accused guilty of offenses punishable under the Sections of 302, 201 of the IPC, and 25 of the Arms Act. He was sentenced to undergo life imprisonment of two years, and six months respectively, with fines and default stipulations whereas, the other three were acquitted. Thereafter, under the High Court, the plea was not accepted on the grounds that there was no offense involved as the act was covered by Section 80 IPC. There was no element of culpability to prove accusations under Section 302 and it was covered by Section 304A in the event.


Deceased Pandurang, while visiting the salon of Shantaram and Ramachandra at Kolhapur, became a friend of laundry shop owner Dilip Shripati Dalavi. On 2nd May 1982, Shankar Narayan Bhadolkar invited Dilip and Salon owners along with Pandurang Varambale for a dinner organized on 8th May 1982. All of them went to the appellant’s village around 5.30 pm on 8th May. They came out of the house for the ST bus which was at 8 pm after they finished their dinners at 7.30 pm. At that time, Sambhaji Patil and an unknown person entered the house of the appellant where the deceased also followed them. The complainant Dilip also entered the house to chew betel leaves, as there was some time left before boarding the bus. The deceased was standing and Shankar Narayanwas sitting on the chair in front of him. The unknown person who was standing close to them suddenly lifted the gun, loaded it with the cartridge, pointed it towards the deceased, and then fired it. The shot hit the deceased on the left side of his chest, who collapsed and blood started oozing. He fell down and died instantaneously. Dilip was afraid and came out of the house where everyone enquired about the sound. He told them that the unknown person had fired a gun injuring Pandurang. They all went to their friend Sadashiv and narrated the incident. They filed a complaint in the Karvir Police Station after informing the brother in law of the deceased in Kerli. The policemen started the trail and the accused got arrested. On interrogation, the accused expressed his willingness to show the well where the wrapped corpse of the deceased was thrown.


1. Whether the unknown person intended to inflict injury by shooting the deceased?


The Supreme Court considered cases like Virsa Singh v. State of Punjab[1],Rajwantand Anr. v. state of Kerala[2], Bhupendrasinh A. Chaudasama v. State of Gujarat[3], Sadhu Singh Harnam Singh v. The State of Pepsu[4]in solving various disputes in this case and finally stated that the outcomes of thesejudgmentsare mere broad guidelines and not cast-iron imperatives. In most cases, the observance will facilitate the task of the Court, but sometimes the facts are quite intertwined and have to be dealt with differently. The Court by looking into the evidence as described by the PWs and the evidence of the ballistic report declared that the offense committed by the accused is covered under Section 304 Part II.

The Apex Court further said that, so far as the other confidences are concerned the conclusions of the Trial Court and the High Court did not warrant any interference. For the conviction under Section 201, it has been established beyond even a shadow of a doubt that dead bodies were carried in a gunny bag. It was discovered on the basis of the statement in terms of Section 27 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which is relevant for the above said. The conviction is well merited. So far as an offense under Section 25 (1A) of the Arms Act is concerned, the admitted position was that the gun belonged to the son of the appellant and that he had no license to hold the gun. The District Magistrate, Kohlapur had accorded sanction under Section 39 of the Arms Act for the prosecution. Therefore, the conviction under Section 25 (1A) is also well merited. The court finalized the custodial sentences of 8 years which would meet the ends of justice. The appeal is allowed to the extent indicated above.

Concepts Highlighted

This case clearly defines the distinction between culpable homicide and general exceptions under the IPC for the given offenses. Application of the sections under the Evidence Act and the Arms Act help as guiding principles, in case of any struggle in the interpretation of the provision of the Indian Penal Code.

[1] (AIR 1958 SC 465) [2] (AIR 1966 SC 1874) [3] (1998 (2) SCC 603) [4] (AIR 1954 SC 271)


1. The Indian Penal Code,

2. The Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

3. The Arms Act, 1959.

4. Shankar Narayan Bhadolkar vs State Of Maharashtra AIR 2004 SC 1996 retrieved from