Friday, May 4, 2012

One can kill in self-defence only in grave danger: SC

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said the injury inflicted by a person on the alleged aggressor must commensurate with injury with which s/he was threatened.

"Right of private defence cannot be used to do away with a wrong-doer unless the person concerned has a reasonable cause to fear that otherwise death or grievous hurt might ensure in which case that person would have full measure of right to private defence," said Justice Radhakrishnan, who wrote the judgement for the bench.

The apex court said the person who exercises right to private defence must prove with cogent evidence the necessity of h/his action to inflict mortal wounds on the other. "A plea for right to private defence cannot be based on surmises and speculation," the bench said.

"To plead a right to private defence extending to voluntary causing of death, the accused must show that there were circumstances giving rise to reasonable grounds for apprehending that either death or grievous would be caused to him," it said.

Though the bench rejected the right to self defence plea by one Arjun, who was convicted under Section 302 for murder of one Jagannath Rambhau Shirsath and for offence punishable under Section 326 for causing grievous hurt to the wife of the deceased, it said there was no pre-meditation in committing the crime.

Finding that the act was in a heat of passion and that the incident occurred during a fight between two parties, the bench altered the conviction from Section 302 to 304-I, and awarded him a 10-year rigorous imprisonment.

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