April 26, 2024 In Uncategorized


A two-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice B. R Gavai and Justice Sandeep Mehta passed a Judgment dated 22-04-2024 in the matter of Kariman vs. The State of Chhattisgarh Criminal Appeal No. 2193 / 2024 and observed that the Accused can only be held responsible for knowing that the injury inflicted by him was likely to cause death. Therefore, there is no criminal intent to cause death or cause bodily harm that was likely to cause death. As a result, the Accused’s action falls under the category of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.


i) That the aforesaid Appeal filed before the Supreme Court by one, Kariman (AccusedAppellant) against the State of Chhatisgarh (Respondent), challenging the decision of the Hon’ble High Court of Chhatisgarh (High Court) dated 27.06.2016 in Criminal Appeal No. 712 of 2003, whereby the High Court upheld the conviction of the Accused-Appellant which was passed by the third Additional Sessions Judge Ambikapur, Sarguja(C.G.), (Trial Court) vide its Order dated 30.10.2001 in Special Sessions Case No. 359/99, under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) (Punishment of Murder). The Accused-Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment.

ii) The Prosecution alleged that on 11.09.1999, at about 2:00 p.m., the Appellant assaulted Dasmet Bai (deceased), his second wife, with fists and stones, resulting in her death. After that one Budhram (PW-2), the deceased’s uncle, lodged a report of the incident at Kusmi Police Station on the same day around 5:20 p.m., leading to the registration of FIR (Exhibit P-6), Crime No. 61/99, against the Accused-Appellant under Section 302 IPC.

iii) The Investigation commenced, including an inquest on the deceased’s body, which was subsequently sent for post-mortem to one, Dr. R.K. Tripathi (PW-11), who conducted the autopsy, noted a bruise measuring 10 cm X 8 cm on the posterior lateral aspect of the left side of the body, spanning the 5th to 10th ribs area in his Medical Report. The 8th rib was found fractured under this injury, leading to laceration of the spleen, causing hypovolemic shock and proving fatal.

iv) A Charge Sheet was filed against the Appellant after the investigation concluded, and the case was transferred to the Court of Third Additional Sessions Judge, Ambikapur, Sarguja. The Accused was charged with the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC, to which he pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

v) The Prosecution examined eleven witnesses and exhibited relevant documents to establish the guilt of the Accused-Appellant. The Accused-Appellant’s statement was recorded under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 ( P.C), where the Accused-Appellant denied the facts presented against him in the Prosecution Case, claiming innocence. However, he failed to present any evidence in his defence.

Trial Court:

The Trial Court, vide its Order dated 30.10.2001, convicted and sentenced the Accused-Appellant under Section 302 of IPC.

High Court:

Aggrieved, by the Order dated 30.10.2001 of the Trial Court the Accused-Appellant filed a Criminal Appeal No 712/2003 before the High Court, whereby, the High Court vide its Judgment dated 27.06.2016 dismissed the Appeal and upheld the Order of the Trial Court.


Aggrieved, by the Order dated 27.06.2016 of the High Court the Accused-Appellant filed a Criminal Appeal No 2193/2024, before the Supreme Court, whereby, the Apex Court vide its Judgment dated 22.04.2024 made the following observations:


The Bench issued a Notice on 21.07.2023 to examine whether the Accused-Appellant’s conviction under Section 302 IPC could be converted to either Part I or Part II of Section 304 IPC.

Section 304.   Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder, shall be punished with 1 [imprisonment for life], or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death; or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both, if the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.


1) The Supreme Court observed that after thorough consideration of the submissions from both parties, examination of the impugned judgments, and meticulous analysis of the evidence on record, several key points emerged.

2) Firstly, it was acknowledged that the Accused-Appellant and the deceased lived together as husband and wife as per prevailing customary practices. However, the motive behind the incident remained undisclosed by any Prosecution witness.

3) Secondly, the witnesses confirmed that the Accused-Appellant was seen chasing the deceased, but it was noted that there was no indication of any prior cruelty towards the deceased by the Accused-Appellant. Additionally, it was revealed that both the Accused-Appellant and the deceased consumed liquor, suggesting a potential contributing factor to the altercation.

4) Thirdly, it was established through eyewitness testimony that the Accused-Appellant was unarmed while chasing the deceased and only picked up a stone nearby after she had fallen.

5) Furthermore, it was highlighted that the post-mortem report indicated the cause of death as shock due to internal bleeding resulting from a single injury, which was not deemed sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature.


Based on aforesaid facts, the Supreme Court concluded that the act of the Accused-Appellant did not fall under any of the clauses contained in Section 300 IPC, which defines murder. Instead, the act was categorized under Part II of Section 304 IPC, pertaining to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Consequently, the Court modified the Accused-Appellant conviction from Section 302 IPC to Section 304 Part II IPC and sentenced the Accused-Appellant to undergo rigorous imprisonment for seven years.

Further, the Bench held that the Accused-Appellant had already served approximately 17 years of the sentence, the Apex Court decided not to impose any additional fine and ordered the Accused-Appellant immediate release if the Accused-Appellant is not required in any other case.


Sakshi Raghuvanshi

Legal Associate

The Indian Lawyer


Editor’s Comments:

In criminal law mens rea is considered a very important aspect in deciding whether the accused is guilty of a crime. In this case, though the wife passed away after the assault it was clear that there was no mens rea on the part of the Accused to murder his wife. The Court therefore held that this was a case where there was homicide caused without any prior motive and as such the Court found the Accused guilty under Section 304 instead of Section 302.


Sushila Ram Varma

Chief Consultant

The Indian Lawyer

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