1. The appellant before us, an elderly man, named, Vairana Pillai, has been convicted by the learned Session Judge, Madurai, of the murder of his wife, Nallammali and also of causing grievous hurt with 'a deadly weapon to his sister-in-law Vallayammal (P. W, 1) during the course of the same transaction. He was sentenced by the learned Judge to imprisonment for life upon the capital charge and to rigorous imprisonment for three years under Section 326, I. P. G the sentences being directed to run concurrently.
2. The facts are very simple, and the background is of some significance, with regard to the particular ilea advanced by the learned Counsel for the appellant on his behalf. The evidence abundantly proves that the appellant was not leading a happy married life with Nallammal (deceased), mainly owing to the aggressive and unyielding temperament of the latter, and her unfeeling behaviour towards her husband. We have the evidence of close relatives and neighbors like P. Ws. 1 and 4, who have certainly no reason to distort the facts in favour of the appellant, that the deceased was not giving even a quarter and to the appellant for his expenses, though he was turning over all his earnings to his wife. Actually, one of the witnesses picturesquely states that even if the appellant went on his knees before Nallammal (deceased) and implored her, she was likely to prove obdurate, and would not grant him cash for his expenses.
In addition to this there was discord because of the food habits of the pair; the appellant was a non-vegetarian; and the deceased was a woman of pious disposition who observed vegetarian restrictions, and would not prepare non vegetarian food. Above all, the deceased who was In her early forties, was a devotee of Lord Murugai and, in consequence of her vows she persistently denied the appellant his marital rights. There is abundant evidence on this point, and of frequent quarrels between the pair on this account.
3. We now come to the events of the actual date of occurrence (30th September 1961) at about 10 a. m. and the facts here are very simple. It appears that Nallammal, deceased, was conversing with P. W. 4, when the appellant called her. As the deceased was then engaged in taking cow dung for domestic work, she said that there was no hurry, and that she would come later after fetching the crowding learned Counsel for the appellant argues, upon the facts of the record, that, shortly after this, not merely should the appellant have gone into his house, but also that the deceased and P. W. 1 should have done so. The record does show that a very brief altercation between the husband and wife might have immediately followed. In any event according to P. W. 1, she heard the cries of the deceased, and ran in and saw the appellant stabbing his wife with a knife, M. 0.1, on her chest, flanks and other parts of the body. When P. W. 1 attempted to intervene, the : appellant stabbed her on her forehead left arm and back.
A little boy Ramaswami (P. W. 2) son of P. W. 1, tried to interfere and protested. The appellant chased this boy, and the evidence is very clear that the boy had to escape an assault with the knife by taking to his heels, A little later P, W. 3, the village munsif,
P. W. 9 and the Talayari and others came to the spot, and the appellant was disarmed. After M. 0.1 was wrested from him, he was tied up. The village Munsif recorded a dying declaration from Nallammal (Ex, P. 11) in which the offence is very clearly described.
4. It is unnecessary for us to proceed into the other minute particulars of the evidence in this case. For, there can be no doubt whatever that the appellant did inflict fatal injuries on his wife with the knife M. O. 1 and also did cause grievous hurt to Vellayammal P. W. 1 when she tried to interfere. At the trial, the appellant put forward a version that Nillammal (deceased) and even P. W. 1 assaulted him, by attempting to squeeze his testicles or actually doing so; and that in great fear of his life, he lost control over himself, and was not even aware of his subsequent precise acts. It is needless for us to say that there is nothing in the record, to probabilise this extraordinary version. We are willing to assume that there might have been a wordy altercation between the husband and wife, preceding the actual incident of offence. But there is absolutely no reason for us to presume that the appellant was assaulted, or that his testicles were squeezed in the manner he has claimed, either by the deceased or by P. W. 1 or by both. The question of the application of Exception (4) to Section 300, Penal Code to the facts of this case, does not really arise. There was no actual light, and there is nothing to justify even a suspicion that the wife (deceased) attempted any physical violence towards her husband.
5. In this state of the evidence, two arguments have been advanced by the learned Counsel for the appellant) Sri Srinivasan. The first is that it is at least possible that the main offence committed by the appellant would not be murder, because he appears to have worked himself into a frenzy, and to have indiscriminately stabbed his wife with the weapon M. 0.1. But we find from the medical evidence that injuries Nos. 1 and 2 on the woman were necessarily fatal in character, of which injury No. 1 was very grave cutting through the pleura, the inferior margin of the lower lobe of the left lung, and the spleen and the left lobe of the liver. Though this was one among the several injuries inflicted by a man who has practically run amok, it was certainly fatal, and the inference must be that the appellant is guilty of murder under the third clause to Section 300, Penal Code with regard to the injury. This argument has, there-fore, to be rejected.
6. The next argument of the learned Counsel is that it is at least conceivable that the appellant received grave and sudden provocation, and would thus be entitled to the benefit of Exception (1) to Section 300, Penal Code. learned Counsel emphasised the sad background to this crime, and the abundant evidence of the overwhelming domination of the husband by the wife, leading to great bitterness harbored by the husband. The argument is that such a course of prolonged provocation might have proved explosive with regard to the particular provocation which, though it might not ordinarily be of a sufficient gravity to attract Exception (1) to Section 300, Penal Code might, by its suddenness and its relation to the prior history of provocation, justify the application of that exception. That argument is sought to be supported by certain observations in Sir Hari Sing Gour's Edition of the Indian Penal Code, and by an early decision of this Court in Cri. App. 56L of 1878, The Emperor v. Khogayi.lLR 2 Mad 122. But the facts of that decision were entirely different, and that was a case in which very violent abuse was addressed to a man, who had been just previously enraged by the conduct of the son of the deceased.
We do not think that we would be justified in taking into account a certain course of living, which is said to have constituted a continuing source of provocation to one or other spouse, as adequate to attract the exception, when the actual provocation was sadden, but not grave. At any real, that would indeed be an unsafe doctrine, and we have been shown no authority for such a view. We are not prepared to hold, in the circumstances of this case, that Exception (1) to Section 300, Penal Code would apply. Hence, the conviction of the appellant for murder is correct and must be confirmed, The learned Sessions Judge took a perfectly proper view of this case in imposing the lesser sentence of imprisonment for life, instead of the extreme penalty of the law. We confirm the sentence also. The conviction of the appellant under Section 326, Penal Code and the sentence imposed therefor, are also confirmed.
7. Before parting with this appeal, we would desire to stress the unfortunate features of the case which have culminated in this crime, which must have been unpremeditated and due to sudden frenzy. These features may be appropriately taken into account by the authorities of the State, in considering the reduction of the life sentence to a lesser period, and we advance the suggestion accordingly.