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The extent to which the plea of grave and sudden provocation may mitigate the liability of an accuse


Authored By- Aishwarya Bhat NS


Keywords- Plea of grave and sudden provocation, Exceptions, Self-Control, Defence.


Abstract

Provocation as a defence to murder is recognised under exception 1 to section 300 of the Penal Code, 1860. One of the conditions that have to be met for a successful plea of the grave and sudden provocation is that it should be 1st initiated by the accused to the offence. This article covers all aspects of the grave and sudden provocation including the guidelines that the court will look into in order to determine such an exception as a defence of the Murder.

Introduction

Culpable homicide is not murder. But if the offender is deprived of self-control power by the grave and sudden provocation causes the death of the person who gave such provocation or caused the death of another person by mistake or by accident. In order to get the benefit of sudden and grave provocation under the exception to Section 300 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, such provocation should be one which is not sought or voluntarily provoked by the offender as an excuse for killing or doing harm to any person.[i]

Conditions required for Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder under section 299 of IPC, 1860

1. The intention of causing death.

2. The intention causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

3. with the knowledge that he is likely by such an act to cause death.[ii]

It was held in the case of Narasingh Challan v. State[1]that section 299 of the Indian Penal Code is the genus and Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code is the species. Hence, there are no independent sections regarding culpable homicide not amounting to murder it is the part of Section 300 of IPC which defines Murder.

Conditions required for Culpable Homicide amounting to Murder under section 300 of IPC, 1860

1. The intention of causing death.

2. The intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows that he is likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused.

3. The intention of causing bodily injury to any person and the bodily injury intended to be in­flicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.

4. The person committing the act knows that such an Act is imminently dangerous, in all probability, the cause of death or such bodily injury is likely to cause death, and commits such an act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.


Exceptions to section 300 of Indian Penal Code, 1860

1. Grave and Sudden Provocation;

2. Private Defence;

3. Exercise of Legal Power;

4. Without Premeditation in a sudden fight; and

5. Consent[iii]


Grave and Sudden Provocation as mitigation

The provocation is not given by anything done in obedience to the law, or by a public servant in the lawful exercise of the powers of such public servant. The provocation is not given by anything done in the lawful exercise of the right of private defence.


In the case of Suljina Dhan v. State of Assam[2]the court held that the result was the outcome of a fight and such fight lead to sudden and the grave provocation to the wife. So, she shall fall under this exception. So, the wife was liable for the culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 299 of Indian Penal Code, 1860.


In the case of Muthu v. State of Tamil Nadu[3]the Court held that continuous harassment would lead to the deprivation of the power of self-control. This will fall under this exception.

The essential conditions for the grave and sudden provocation are as follows:

· The accused had been provoked by the deceased.

· Provocation needs to be sudden.

· Provocation needs to be grave.

· The accused had lost his self-control.

· The accused must have caused the death of such person who gave the provocation.

· The accused must have caused the death during the continuance of his deprivation of the power of self-control.

· The accused should not have a malafide intention.


There must be an instance of the grave and sudden provocation in order to take the plea of exception under section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.[iv]


In the case of K.M Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra[4] the court laid down the following principles for the determination of the grave and sudden provocation court observed that-

· In India, gestures, and words under certain circumstances cause sudden and grave provocation to an accused so as to bring his action under this exception.

· A test is established for the purpose of determining the sudden and grave provocation, to find whether any other reasonable man having the same capacity and belonging to the same class or sections of society if placed in the same situations as accused would also be provoked to lose their self-control.

· The mental background of the previous act of victim may be taken into consideration in determining whether the subsequent act caused a sudden and the grave provocation for committing an offence.

· The fatal blow on the person giving a sudden and the grave provocation should be immediately traced when he was provoked but not after the time which was sufficient for him to calm down.[v]

Conclusion

The author concludes that there is always an exception to everything. The exception of the grave and provocation is given in order to protect the accused under certain circumstances. But the court must scrutinize the case properly. When the accused pleads for any of the exceptions under section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, the court must protect it from misuse.

[1] 1997 CriLJ 2204. [2] 2018 SCC Online Gau 645 [3] AIR 2008 SC 1. [4] 1962 SCR Supl. (1) 567. References [i] https://www.barandbench.com/news/grave-sudden-provocation-sought-voluntarily-provoked- offender-supreme-court [ii] https://blog.ipleaders.in/culpable-homicide-under-indian-penal-code/ [iii] https://www.legalbites.in/law-notes-ipc-exceptions-to-offence-of-murder/ [iv] Supra note 2 [v] https://indianlegalsolution.com/culpable-homicide-and-murder-best-explained/

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