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In Re: Suruttayyan Alias Vayyapuri Goundan - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberReferred Trial No. 20 of 1953 and Criminal Appeal No. 103 of 1953
Judge
Reported inAIR1954Mad523
ActsIndian Penal Code (IPC), 1860 - Sections 85, 86, 300 and 302
AppellantIn Re: Suruttayyan Alias Vayyapuri Goundan
Advocates:K.S. Jayarama Ayyar, Adv. for ;E. Subramaniam, Adv.;Asst. Public Prosecutor
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredNga Sein Gale v. Emperor
Excerpt:
.....and sentence confirmed. - - 1 for this omission was that he was not well at that time and was feeling giddy. 2's statement to the magistrate that she did not directly see who stabbed her husband was prompted by motherly..........the presumption that every man intends the natural consequences of his acts cannot be rebutted by evidence of drunkenness failing short of proved incapacity to formulate intention essential to. constitute the crime and it is not sufficient to establish that his mind was affected by drink so that he more readily gave way to some violent-passion. drunkenness was not accepted as a. defence in that case as it was not established that the accused who was proved to have ravished a girl and in the furtherance of the act of rape, caused the death of the girl by suffocation, at the time of committing the rape, was so drunk that he was incapable of forming the intent to commit it.17. this ruling is an authority for the position that it is only in cases where it is proved that the prisoner was in.....
Judgment:

Balakrishna Aiyar, J.

1. I agree that the conviction and sentence should be confirmed and the appeal dismissed. On the views of my learned brother regarding the scope and content of Sections. 85 and 86, I.P.C., I express no opinion one way or the other. I merely desire to guard myself against the possibility of its being understood that I concur with them, for I greatly hesitate to voyage into the twilight between the confines of knowledge that is implied by the law and statutory intention. As I look at this case, the question and problems raised by Mr. Jayarama Aiyar do not really arise. All questions of intention apart, the acts of the accused in stabbing his father in the manner he did is covered by the fourth clause of Section 300, I.P.C.

Chandra Reddy, J.

2. The appellant one Suruttayan alias Vayya-puri Goundan belonging to Nallipalayam village, Namakkal Taluk, Salem district, has been convicted by the Sessions Judge of Salem under Sections. 302, 323 and 324, I.P.C. and sentenced to death and three months' and one year's rigorous imprisonment respectively. The offence of murder was committed on the night of the 5th of August 1952, the murdered man being no other than the father of the appellant.

3. The prosecution case briefly is this: The deceased Marappa Goundan had two sons and two daughters, the eldest of them being the appellant and the youngest P. W. 3. A fortnight before this occurrence there was a partition of the family properties, at which the father was. allotted, among other things, three bulls, one pah-valued at KB. 550 arid the other bull at Rs. 125. On the morning of 5th August 1952, when the deceased was working in his field, the appellant approached him and suggested that the bulls valued at Rs. 550 might be given to him for Us. 500 and the other one valued at Rs. 125 might be sold to the younger son for Rs. 175. The father was not agreeable to this inequitable suggestion and wanted to sell them all in a shandy. This provoked the appellant who abused his father in filthy language. At that time, P. W. 2 the mother of the appellant and P. W. 3 his. sister also happened to be there and his maternal uncle P. W. 1 was working in the adjoining field. The deceased felt dishonoured by the vile Jan-guage used by the son. p. v. 1 who was witnessing all these came there and advised the appellant to go away promising to settle the-matt er later.

4. That evening when the deceased returned home for his night meal at about 9 o'clock P. W. 2 advised him not to get into the house since-the appellant was drunk and was threatening to-stab him. Thereupon the deceased fetched P. W. 1 to intercede in the matter. When P. W. 1 advised the appellant, not to quarrel with his father but to allow him to enter the house, take his food and go away, the appellant abused him for his interference. When P. W. 1 remonstrated, the appellant hurled an iron lock which hit the former on the forehead and caused a bleeding injury. On this, P. W. 1 came out of the house, accompanied by the deceased who was all the while standing outside, to apply some medicine to the wound. No sooner had they gone about ten feet than the appellant emerged with a bichuva. from the house of one Nallammal, which adjoins that of the appellant's family and to get into which there was a gap in the compound of the latter's house, abusing P. W. 1 and the deceased foully. Apprehending trouble, P. W. 1 caught hold of the appellant and the deceased went towards the house of Nallammal. The appellant tried to wriggle out of the hold of P. W. 1 and when the latter did not release him he stabbed P. W. l with his bichuva on tne right upper arm. Immediately P. W. 1 released the hold shouting out 'Brother-in-law 1 I have been stabbed.' Then the appellant pursued his father who was running away and stabbed him on the neck st the oil mill in the backyard of the house of Nallammal, which resulted in his death within an hour. P. W. l then caught hold of the appellant and while the latter was struggling to escape and run away, P. W- 4, the father-in-law of the P. W. 1 came there and disarmed the appellant who ran away immediately. The whole incident was witnessed by P. Ws. 2 and 3. The Injured man was-then taken to his house where he expired soon after. Information was then sent to the village munsif Jiving at a distance of about a mile. The village munsif arrived at the spot at about midnight and reduced to writing the statement of P. _W. 1 which is marked as Ex. D. l in this case. This document sets out the main features of the-prosecution case. It refers to the partition disputes between the father and the son and to the circumstances under which the appellant plunged his knife into the deceased Marappa Goundan. The report prepared by the village Munsif based, on the statement of P. W. 1, was despatched at about 2 a.m. and it was received at the Namakkal police station at 3-45 a.m. The Sub Inspector of Police P. W. 9 came to the village at 5 a.m. held the inquest, examined all the witnesses and sent the body for autopsy to P. W. 5 the Civil Assistant Surgeon in charge of the Government Hospital, Namabkal. The post mortem examination revealed a gaping incised penetrating wound on the right side of the neck above the collar bone, which injured the soft tissues, the subclavian injury and aorta. In the opinion of the doctor the injury was necessarily fatal. The same doctor examined P- W. 1 who was found to have five injuries: (1) a penetrating wound on the right shoulder joint with an entry and exit wound, (2) an incised wound on the right side of the forehead; (3) a punctured wound on the middle third of right eye brow and two other superficial wounds on the thumb. Four days later the appellant was also produced before this doctor who found a superficial incised wound on the back of his left wrist.

5. The prosecution case rests mainly on the evidence of P. Ws. 1 to 3, direct witnesses to the occurrence, and the circumstantial evidence of P. W. 4 who is said to have seized the bichuva from the appellant. P. Ws. 1 and 3 supported the prosecution case in its entirety at all the stages. But P. W. 2 who corroborated P. Ws. 1 and 3 in the Sessions Court did not speak to the actual stabbing by the appellant when he was examined by the Magistrate under S. 164, Criminal P. C.

6. The plea of the appellant was that he did not commit the offence, that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses was false, that he was dead drunk that night and that he did not know what had happened.

7. The Sessions Judge acting mainly on the evidence of P. Ws. 1, 3 and 4 sentenced him to death for the offence of murder and also to various terms of imprisonment under the other two charges. An appeal is filed by the appellant against his convictions. That appeal and the reference under Section 374, Criminal P. C. are before us.

8. In this appeal, while not disputing that the stab injury to which Marappa Goundan succumbed was inflicted by the appellant, it is contended for the appellant that he must have stabbed the deceased in a quarrel in which he, the deceased and P. W. 1 took part and that the evidence of the prosecution witnesses should not be accepted 'in toto'. The foundation for this argument is the injury found on the wrist of the appellant and the non-mention of the detail as regards the seizure of bichuva from the appellant in Ex. P. 1. As regards the injury it has to be mentioned that it was a very superficial one and it might have been caused either at the time when there was a struggle between the appellant and P. W. 1 etc. after the attack on the deceased or sometime later. Further, the doctor was told that this was caused a about 6 p. m. on 6th August. However that need not detain us here, as it is not for the prosecution to account for any small injury that may be found on the accused.

9. As regards the omission of particulars as regards what happened after the stabbing incident, we will refer to it presently. The learned counsel for the appellant also urged that P. W. 4's evidence should be totally disregarded as his evidence was inconsistent with the recitals in Ex. P. 1. He argued that according to Ex. P. 1 the appellant ran away immediately after he stabbed the deceased, while P. W. 4 now deposed that after the stabbing incident the appellant was caught by P. W. 1 and the former was trying to escape from the hold of P. W. 1 when he went there and seized the bichuva from him. We do not think that the omission to mention the details subsequent to the attack on Marappa Goundan should be a ground for rejecting P. W. 4's evidence. The explanation offered by P. W. 1 for this omission was that he was not well at that time and was feeling giddy. It may be recalled that P. W. 1 had as many as five injuries which have already been described. Even otherwise that omission does not, in any way, touch the truth of the prosecution case. There does not seem to be any valid ground for disbelieving P. W. 4. He has no axe to grind by deposing falsely against the appellant. Further more, the evidence of P. W. 4 bears only on what has happened subsequent to the commission of the offence and docs not materially affect the prosecution case.

10. As regards the actual crime we have the testimony of P. Ws. 1 to 3. No doubt P. W. 2 the mother did not state in her 164 statement that she actually saw the appellant stabbing his father. The Sessions Judge attributed this to the maternal instinct. However he was prepared to leave that evidence out of account and to rely only on the evidence of other witnesses. We agree with the learned Sessions Judge that P. W. 2's statement to the Magistrate that she did not directly see who stabbed her husband was prompted by motherly love. It is unimaginable that a mother would perjure herself to magnify the case against her son which involves a capital sentence. However we can exclude the evidence of P. W. 2 for the purpose of this case. We have got other evidence in the case which is untainted and which can safely form the basis of a conviction. There is no conceivable reason why P. W. 1 and P. W. 3 should implicate the appellant in a charge of murder by giving a version totally different from what had actually happened. We see no justifiable grounds for distrusting the evidence of these two witnesses; the evidence of P. W, 3, especially, could not be assailed in any manner. V/e think their testimony is entitled to great weight and has to be accepted. It follows that there is sufficient evidence to bring home the charges to the appellant.

11. Mr. Jayarama Aiyar next urged that the offence committed by his client would not in any event amount to murder and that it should be reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The learned counsel argued that as the intention referred to in Clauses 1 to 3 to Section I. P. C. 300, I. P. C. is an essential ingredient of an offence defined in Section 300, I. P. C. and as such intent could not be ascribed under the provisions of Section 86, I.P.C. to the appellant who as the evidence discloses, was under the influence of liquor the charge under Section 302, I. P.C. was unsustainable and the conviction could be only for a lesser offence. According to him in order to present a defence of drunkenness in cases requiring a particular intent the same degree of drunkenness as is specified in Section 85, I. P. C. need not be established since the words qualifying intoxication in Section 85 are not found in Section 86, I. P. C. As substantiating this contention he relied on -- 'Director of Public Prosecutions v. Beard', 1920 AC 479 (A).

12. In order to appreciate this contention it is necessary to set out the relevant provisions of the Indian Penal Code. Section 85 enacts

'Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, is by reason of intoxication, incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong, or contrary to law; provided that the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will.'

13. It is seen that in order to get the benefit of this section, the intoxication should not have been incurred voluntarily. Another essential requisite of the section is that the drunkenness must be such that the offender was incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that what he was doing was wrong or contrary to law.

14. The effect of voluntary drunkenness on criminal responsibility in certain types of cases is set out in Section 86, I. P. C. That section is in the following terms:

'In cases where an act done is not an offence unless done with a particular knowledge of intent, a person who does the act in a state of intoxication shall be liable to be dealt with as if he had the same knowledge as he would have had if he had not been intoxicated, unless the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will.'

This section makes it clear that in cases where knowledge is an essential element of an offence voluntary drunkenness makes no difference to the knowledge of the consequences of his acts with which a man is credited. But a similar presumption is not made under this section when a particular intent is of the essence of the crime. The question is whether on a charge of murder it is sufficient merely to show that an accused person was intoxicated in order to plead that the necessary intent could not have existed in his mind.

15. It looks to me that the contention raised on behalf of the appellant cannot succeed. I do not think that the state of intoxication envisaged in Section 86 is in any way different from that contemplated in the preceding section. Both Sections 85 and 86, I. P. C. lay down the law relating to drunkenness as bearing on the wrongful acts committed by persons, the difference between the two sections being with regard to consequences depending upon whether the drunkenness is involuntary or voluntary. In my opinion, the absence of qualifying words in Section 86 cannot lead to the inference that even if the insobriety is not such as to impair the reason of the offender the requisite intent cannot be presumed. It is an ordinary rule that every man is presumed to intend the consequences of his acts but this presumption . can be rebutted by showing that the person concerned could not have formed the intent by reason of his drunkenness To be a sufficient answer to a charge of a crime case involving a specific intent, it should be established not merely that the offender had consumed liquor but as a result of it, his mind at the time in question was so obscure that he was incapable of forming the requisite intention. It is not unusual for people committing grave crimes of violence to - prime themselves with liquor.

16. I do not think that -- '1920 A C 479 (A)' on which reliance is placed by Mr. Jayarama Aiyar lays down any principle opposed to what is stated above. On the other hand, it furnishes an answer to the argument put forward by Mr. . Jayarama Aiyar. The rule of law stated by the House of Lords in that case was that the presumption that every man intends the natural consequences of his acts cannot be rebutted By evidence of drunkenness failing short of proved incapacity to formulate intention essential to. constitute the crime and it is not sufficient to establish that his mind was affected by drink so that he more readily gave way to some violent-passion. Drunkenness was not accepted as a. defence in that case as it was not established that the accused who was proved to have ravished a girl and in the furtherance of the act of rape, caused the death of the girl by suffocation, at the time of committing the rape, was so drunk that he was incapable of forming the intent to commit it.

17. This ruling is an authority for the position that it is only in cases where it is proved that the prisoner was in such a condition of drunkenness that his reason was 'dethroned' and was incapable of forming any intention, that the defence of drunkenness would be available. This opinion of mine gains support from --'Sheru v. Emperor', AIR 1926 Lah 232 (B); --'Waryam Singh v. Emperor', AIR 1926 Lah 433 (C); -- 'Nga Sein Gale v. Emperor', AIR 1834 Rang 361 (D) & from a decision of our Court in -- 'Balasami In re', AIR 1963 Mad 821 (E).

18. Applying the principle stated above, I find that the appellant cannot present the defence-ex drunkenness. There is no evidence that he-was so drunk that he could not have formed the intent necessary to constitute an offence falling within paragraph 2 or paragraph 3 of Section 300, I. P. C. On the other hand, the material on record is sufficient in our opinion to warrant an inference that the appellant had formulated a deliberate intent to commit an offence as defined in Section 300, I. P. C. That evening he was shouting out his intention to stab his father and when he ran out of his house in pursuit of P. W. 1 and the deceased, he armed himself with. a bichuva. When he was caught by P. W. i to prevent him from attacking either of them with the weapon, he extricated himself and followed after the deceased who was running away into the neighbouring house being afraid that he might be injured, and killed him. These circumstances are consistent only with the theory that the appellant had formed at least an intention to cause a bodily injury mentioned either in paragraph 2 or paragraph 3 of Section 300, I. p. C. I think they are not explicable on any other hypothesis. It follows that the crime committed by the appellant attracts the provisions of Section 300, I. P. C.

19. Even otherwise, the offence committed by the appellant is one under Section 302 in view of the provisions of Clause (4) of Section 300, I. P. C. which provides:

'Fourthly--if the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death, or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.'

A person who plunges his knife into the neck of another and causes an injury of the kind found on the person of the deceased must be deemed to know that the injury is likely to cause death. So the case would be covered by this clause, unless the offender is able to show that he had an excuse for incurring the risk of causing that injury resulting in death. It cannot be urged that the appellant had any such excuse. He pursued a defenceless man, who was running for his life, and stabbed him on the most vulnerable part of the body.

20. It follows that the offence committed by the appellant is one of murder and his voluntary drunkenness does not avail him to reduce the offence to one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

21. Lastly, Mr. Jayarama Aiyar pleaded that this was not a fit case for imposing the extreme penalty of law. He submitted that in view of the fact that the appellant was under the influence of liquor and had no premeditation this was a case where only the lesser sentence should be awarded. In support of his submission, he cited to us a decision of a Bench of which one of us was a member in -- 'Palaniswami Goundan In re' : AIR1952Mad175 . We do not think that this ruling has any application to the facts of this case. There it was found that the accused did not have the mentality of an ordinary sane person and that murder must have been committed in some frenzied mood or something in the nature of ah abnormal state of mind. The circumstances of this case are altogether different and we feel that they are not conducive to the awarding of the lesser sentence. Here when the appellant was rushing out of the house of Nal-lammal with a bitchuva in his hand, P. W. 1 caught hold of him to prevent him from doing any harm. After freeing himself from the hold of P. W. 1 by stabbing him, he deliberately pursued a defenceless old man who was running away and stabbed him on the neck, which brought about his death within an hour. This is not a case where the offender cut the deceased then and there when he first met the latter. We therefore feel that there are no palliative circumstances in this case which can induce us to impose the lesser sentence.

22. In the result, the convictions and sentences are confirmed and the appeal is dismissed.


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