Ingredients of offence u/s 397 IPC involve the use of any deadly weapon by offender while committing robbery, clarifies Delhi HC
Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri [22-02-2024]


Read Order:ANIL KUMAR v. STATE (NCT OF DELHI) [DEL HC- CRL.A. 885/2002]


LE Correspondent


New Delhi, February 28, 2024: While modifying the sentence of the appellant-accused to the period already undergone by him in a case of robbery, the Delhi High Court has observed that the offence u/s 397 IPCwas not made out asthe complainant did not see or realise that a deadly weapon was being used when money was being taken from his pocket by the accused.


The facts of the case suggested that in the year 1998,while travelling in a bus, accused-Anil Kumar placed a knife in the arm pit of Sanjeev Kumar by his right hand and removed Rs100 which Sanjeev Kumar was carrying in front pocket of his shirt. Sanjeev Kumar raised alarm and accused with the help of public was brought down from the bus with knife and the money. The Accomplice of accused managed to escaped. The Accused alongwith a knife and Rs 100 was handed over to the Inspector who recorded statement of Sanjeev Kumar Gupta and after making endorsement on the same got a case registered. While patrolling the area and investigation was taken over by him regarding recover of knife and he also got a case registered u/s 25/27 Arms Act.


The appellant-accused was considering an appeal instituted under Section 374 Cr.P.C. against the impugned judgment of conviction and order on sentence passed by the Sessions Court arising out of FIR registered under Sections 392/397 IPC & Sections 25/54/59 Arms Act. Benefit of Section 428 Cr.P.C was given and the sentences of seven years & one year were directed to run concurrently.


The Single-Judge Bench of Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri made it clear that “…the ingredients of the offence under Section 397 IPC involve the use of any deadly weapon by the offender at the time of committing robbery. The removal of Rs.100 from the pocket of the complainant stands established in light of the testimony of the complainant. However, it is to be seen whether any deadly weapon was ‘used’ at the time of commission.”


It was evident that though the appellant was armed with a knife, which indeed is a deadly weapon, the same was however, not within the vision of the complainant. The complainant had only felt some itching without having any notice of the knife in the hand of the appellant. Before he (complainant) could see the knife, the amount of Rs.100 had already been withdrawn from his pocket.


As per the Bench, the complainant did not see or realise that a deadly weapon i.e., knife was being used, and thus the offence in terms of Section 397 IPC couldn’t be made out, in as much as the money was taken from the pocket of the complainant before the knife could be seen by the complainant.


In light of such circumstances, the Bench upheld the appellant’s conviction qua the offence under Section 392 IPC however, he was acquitted of the offence under Section 397 IPC. The appellant’s conviction under Section 25 Arms Act was also upheld.Allowing the appeal, the Bench modified appellant’s sentence to the period already undergone by him.

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