1. The accused has been found guilty of the murder of a man called Mahomed on 19th November, 1932, and has been sentenced to death. The accused, the deceased and Maraoo, P. W. 6, are all Moplahs engaged in the South Indian Railway Workshop at Golden Rock, and it is there that the murder was committed. The accused, who is a young man aged about 25, already had one wife Mariam Bi Bi, P. W. 4, and about 6 months before the occurrence had married a second wife, Amina Kutti, P. W. 3. He brought her to Golden Rock about three months before the occurrence. The prosecution evidence shows that about ten days before the occurrence the accused happened to come home about 7 or 8 p.m. in the evening and found P. W. 3 talking to P. W. 6 and the deceased. Again, some three days later, he saw these two men dragging P. W. 3 towards them. On the day of the occurrence, which was a Saturday, he called P.W. 6 and the deceased to come to his house. At first only P.W. 6 came, and he and the accused sat in the front room, and it is said that the accused then went and locked the back door. P. W. 7 was then sent to the tea shop to fetch Mahomed the deceased and presently the deceased came up with P. W. 8 and another, who were asked to stand outside. The accused bolted the front door and called his two wives. P. W. 5, the maternal uncle of P. W. 3, was also inside the house. The accused asked P. W. 3, 'Are you bold enough to laugh and play with these two men here in my absence and receive money from them?' to which she replied 'Yes, that is all right'. Then the accused asked Mahomed, 'Are you bold enough to visit my wife in my absence and amuse yourself with her and give her money?' and without waiting for his reply, drew a knife from his waist and stabbed the deceased in his chest. Upon this the two women, P. Ws. 3 and 4, managed to get out of the house by climbing a wall with the help of some boxes. P. W. 5 also sought to escape but, before he succeeded in doing so, he was stabbed by the accused; as was also P. W. 6 in his endeavours, which were ultimately successful, to get out by the front door. P. W. 6 attempted to snatch the knife from the accused, and this may have caused the cut which was found on the accused's wrist, though there is no actual explanation for this injury in the evidence. P. W. 6 promptly made his way to the Police Station where he made the complaint, Ex. C, which is in accordance with the evidence.
2. The accused denies having sent for P. W. 6 and the deceased but states that on coming suddenly to his house he found his wife (P. W. 3) and the deceased in the act of sexual intercourse. He questioned the deceased who thereupon stabbed him with a knife that was lying there. Afterwards P. Ws. 5 and 6 and the deceased came to beat him and he fell down and does not know what happened thereafter. He has called one defence witness who merely speaks to the fact of his having received an injury. In his appeal petition he says that some witnesses who had been summoned to give evidence were not examined and that his consent was not taken for dispensing with their evidence. But it is to be seen that he was defended by a pleader who was not engaged on his behalf by the Government but, evidently, by himself and in the absence of any statement from the pleader, it must be taken that these witnesses were given up in the exercise of the pleader's discretion as not being of any assistance to the accused's case.
3. The story for the prosecution was forthcoming at a very early stage, and there cannot be the least doubt as to the truth of the evidence on behalf of the prosecution. Mr. Jayarama on behalf of the accused has sought to make out that the case was not one of murder but one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. He has cited King v. Palmer (1913) 2 K.B. 29 in which it is remarked that when the wife suddenly confesses to her husband that she has committed adultery, it is treated as equivalent to a discovery of the act itself. Mr. Jayarama contends that the admission of P. W. 3 that she had been enjoying herself with the deceased and P. W. 6 was tantamount to his finding her in the act of illicit intercourse with both of them. The case dealt with in the King's Bench decision was one of the killing of a woman who had made a sudden confession and to hold that what Channell, J. then said can be extended so as to allow it to be taken as only man-slaughter when a husband kills the man with whom the wife admitted that she had committed adultery, as if he had really found him in the act of committing adultery with her and with nothing else to go on would, in my opinion, be extending the principle dangerously far. It is to be remembered that in this particular case the deceased was given a stab which pierced through his lung, as well as five other wounds, without being given a chance of saying whether or no the confession of P. W. 3 as to having gone wrong with the accused was true. It is also, I think, questionable whether what P. W. 3 said to the accused on this occasion can be regarded as sudden. As remarked by the learned Sessions Judge, the accused seems to have acted with a considerable amount of deliberation. He sent for both the men against whom he had suspicion and after one had arrived, he locked the back door and after the other had arrived, he bolted the front door also. It seems to me perfectly plain that he had a suspicion amounting almost to a certainty, before he sent for them that his wife P. W. 3 had gone wrong with them, and when P. W. 3 admitted that such was the case, it was not a matter of any sudden confession on her part which surprised him and took him off his balance but only a confirmation of that which he had already strongly suspected, if he had not really believed it. I do not think that the offence can be reduced to anything less than murder.
4. With regard, however, to the sentence, in spite of the fact that there has been considerable deliberation by the accused, there is no doubt that he is a man who was wounded in his tenderest part, that he had been brooding over this matter and that at the moment of the crime what he was already feeling was intensified by the way P. W. 3 replied to him and the nature of her replies. In these circumstances I think that the sentence may be reduced to the lesser one of transportation for life. It is reduced accordingly and the appeal is otherwise dismissed.
Lakshmana Rao, J.
5. I concur and have nothing to add.