In Criminal Appeal No. 3619 of 2023 -SC- Supreme Court rules simple injuries not enough for attempted murder conviction
Justice Vikram Nath & Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah [28-11-2023]


Read Order: Sivamani and Anr V. State Represented by Inspector of Police, Vellore Taluk Police Station, Vellore District


Chahat Varma


New Delhi, November 29, 2023: The Supreme Court has reduced the conviction of two appellants in an attempt to murder case, finding that the evidence did not support a conviction under Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).


The presented appeal challenged the final order and judgment, passed by the Madras High Court, wherein the High Court had confirmed the appellants' conviction under Section 307 of the IPC and the imposition of a fine of Rs.1000 each. However, it reduced the original sentence of 10 years rigorous imprisonment to 5 years.


In the said case, the prosecution's case involved an alleged dispute between the Complainant/PW1 and Accused No.1, which stemmed from a civil case concerning a lane between their houses. It was claimed that there was enmity between the parties due to this dispute. The prosecution detailed an incident where Accused No.1, instigated by the appellants and other accused, allegedly assaulted PW1 in his grocery shop. The appellants were subsequently caught by villagers and handed over to the police.


The defence argued that the convictions under Section 307 of the IPC were not justified as the injuries were found to be simple in nature and not on any vital part of the body. It was also contended that there was no intention to kill, no pre-planning, and the injuries sustained were not severe, suggesting that the appellants should have been tried under lesser charges such as Sections 323 and 324 of the IPC.


However, the State's counsel argued that the appellants, armed with knives, demonstrated a clear intention to kill, and it was only by providence that the lives of the victims were saved.


The division bench of Justice Vikram Nath and Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah referred to the case of State of Madhya Pradesh v Saleem [LQ/SC/2005/681], wherein the court had held that to sustain a conviction under Section 307, IPC, it was not necessary that a bodily injury capable of resulting in death should have been inflicted. As such, non-conviction under Section 307, IPC on the premise only that simple injury was inflicted did not follow as a matter of course. In the same judgment, it was pointed out that "…The court had to see whether the act, irrespective of its result, was done with the intention or knowledge and under circumstances mentioned in the section."


The bench also noted that while grievous or life-threatening injury was not necessary to maintain a conviction under Section 307, IPC, the intention of the accused could be ascertained from the actual injury, if any, as well as from surrounding circumstances. Among other things, the nature of the weapon used and the severity of the blows inflicted could be considered to infer intent.


After careful consideration of the case's facts, circumstances, and the arguments presented by both parties, the bench was convinced that the impugned judgment of the High Court needed intervention. It was noted that there was no allegation of repeated or severe blows, and the injuries sustained by victims were simple in nature, favouring the appellants.


In conclusion, the impugned judgment was varied only to the extent that the conviction of the appellants stood modified to that under Sections 323 and 324 of the IPC, and the sentence imposed was reduced to the period already undergone. The fine imposed was maintained.


Accordingly, the present appeal was disposed of.

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