1. This is an appeal by the Provincial Government from the decision of the learned Sessions Judge of Ramnad in S.C. No. 83 of 1939. The respondent Ramaswami Nadar was tried on a charge of murder. The learned Sessions Judge convicted him under Section 326, Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for five years. The learned Public Prosecutor contends that the facts established constitute the offence of murder.
2. The respondent did not appeal from his conviction under Section 326, Indian Penal Code and the learned Counsel who has appeared for him in this Court has not attempted to show that the learned Sessions Judge's findings of fact are wrong. The evidence recorded by the learned Sessions Judge showed that there was some enmity between the respondent and one Periana Nadar, arising partly out of gambling with cards and partly out of the association of Periana Nadar with the respondent's wife. On the 5th August, 1939, about 11-30 A.M. the respondent attacked Periana Nadar with a weapon which is described as 'Patta knife' or 'gin knife'. One witness, P.W. 8, says that it was 'something like a sword'. P.W. 7 says that the blade was about two cubits long. The respondent I himself in a confession which he made to the taluk Magistrate; on the 10th August described it as a piece of iron bar. He also? used the description 'patta'. With this weapon the respondent, inflicted nine wounds on Periana Nadar : (1) an incised wound across the back of the right elbow exposing the bones of the joint; (2) an incised wound on the palm of the right hand; (3) an incised wound on the middle of the fight forearm; (4) an incised wound on the back of the left foot (the lower portion, the doctor; says, was hanging down); (5) an incised wound over the left heel; (6) an incised wound four inches long, two inches wide and 2 inches deep across the back of the left knee, cutting all the blood vessels, arteries, veins as well as nerves; (7) the left thumb was cut and was hanging down; (8) the left index finger was split into two, and (9) a contusion on the tip of the left middle finger. The doctor, P. W. 1, who made the post-mortem examination, says that the cut across the back of the knee severed the popliteal arteries and the veins, and he says, 'the injuries to such arteries are necessarily fatal.' He goes on to say 'It is not a fatal or vital part.' The learned Sessions Judge appears to have been very gravely misled by this remark. The doctor was simply contradicting himself when he said in one breath that the injury was fatal and in the next that it was not an injury in a fatal or vital part. If the injury is necessarily fatal, it is obvious that the part of the body upon which it has been inflicted is a vital part.
3. The real question for decision is, what was the respondent trying to do when he inflicted all these injuries upon Periana Nadar, or in other words, what was his intention? The learned Sessions Judge appears to think that his intention was only to maim the man. If by that the learned Sessions Judge means that the respondent was trying to chop off the man's leg' that is, possibly correct. But if that be so, the respondent must be held to have intended to cause bodily injury which is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. Every body knows that if a man's leg is severed close below the knee, the man must die from loss of blood in a very short time, unless some skilful person appears, who can stop the arterial bleeding. The cut described by the doctor as the sixth injury was 4 inches long, 2 inches deep, and gaping 2 inches wide. It is clear that it had cut across practically the whole of the muscular structures of the leg. It is not possible for person who inflicts an injury like this to say that he did not intend to cut the arteries, or to cause the man to bleed to death. The case is very different from the frequent cases of stabbing with a knife or dagger. If'a man armed with a knife or dagger stabs another in the arm or in the leg, it can generally be urged on his behalf that he was not trying to kill, and that he was not trying to inflict such bodily injury as sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. An ordinary person is not presumed to know the precise location of the arteries in the human limbs. If, therefore, a stab with a knife or a dagger, aimed at an arm or a leg, severs an artery and the injured man dies as a result, it may be quite reasonable to argue that the offence is not one of culpable homicide and that the assailant can only be presumed to have intended to cause hurt, or grievous hurt, with a dangerous weapon. The case is quite different when a weapon like a sword is used in order to chop off or to hack at a limb. The person who uses a sword or aruval, chopping at an arm or a leg and by so doing severs the arteries of the arm or the leg, must know that he is inflicting an injury which in the ordinary course of nature is sufficient to cause death. The offence is clearly one of murder. See illustration (c) to Section 300, Indian Penal Code.
4. Accordingly we set aside the conviction for an offence under Section 326, Indian Penal Code and the sentence of five years' rigorous imprisonment. We convict the respondent for the offence of murder with which he was charged and we sentence him to transportation for life.