New Delhi: Holding that the murder had occurred in the "heat of passion" during a "sudden" quarrel, the Supreme Court has altered to 8 years rigorous imprisonment the life term in jail of a man who attacked a cop with a sharp weapon and later pushed him into the sea in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
"The act of the appellant even when tantamount to commission of culpable homicide will not amount to murder as the same was committed without any pre-mediation and in a sudden fight, in the heat of passion, in the course of a sudden quarrel without the offender taking undue advantage or acting in a cruel or unusual manner," the apex court observed.
A bench of justices T S Thakur and Gyan Sudha Misra passed the judgement while partly allowing an appeal filed by Abdul Nawaz challenging the life imprisonment imposed by the sessions court in Andaman and Nicobar Islands at Port Blair and affirmed by the Calcutta High Court.
Nawaz, allegedly engaged in smuggling of diesel along with a few others, had entered into a scuffle with head constable Shaji of Chatham Police Station and attacked him with a "dao" (sharp-edged weapon) on the head on March 19, 2008, on a dingy.
Shaji, who sustained grievous head injury, was later pushed into the waters by Nawaz resulting in his death.
The reason for the attack was said to be the deceased`s effort to prevent the smuggling, resulting in the scuffle.
The apex court however, rejected the argument of the defence that the convict had no knowledge that his action would result in the death of the victim.
"The injury on the head and the push into the sea have, therefore, to be construed as one single act which the appellant ought to have known was likely to cause death of the deceased.
"Even so, exception 4 to Section 300 of the IPC would come to the rescue of the appellant in as much as the act of the appellant even when tantamount to commission of culpable homicide will not amount to murder," the bench said.