M. Anantanarayanan, J.
1. The appellant, Doraiswamy Nadar, Was convicted of the murder of his wife, Kaveri Ammal, aged about 30, and sentenced to the lesser penalty of imprisonment for life. The case is a very simple one, with regard to the actual merits. The record makes it clear beyond doubt that, following a violent quarrel between the husband and the wife, the accused beat Kaveri Ammal first with the broom-stick (M.O. 1), then kicked her after she fell down, and, following this, gave her a number of blows with the iron rod (M.O. 2) which happened to be there. This was in the front yard (vasal) of the house. The accused then dragged his wife a few feet, and carried her into the house, and bolted the door from inside. In the morning, he was sitting in front of the house and weeping. The accused frankly confessed to three witnesses, P.Ws. 1, 2 and 3, that his wife died on account of the beating administered by him the previous night, Later, the accused made a judicial confession (Exhibit P-10), in which also he has admitted the incident, in broad terms; only he would deny that he used all violence with the iron rod (M.O. 2).
2. There can be no doubt at all that P.Ws. 1 to 3 are speaking to the strict truth of what occurred, and that the accused did use considerable violence towards his wife, following a quarrel, first with the broom (M.O. 1) then by kicking her, and lastly by blows with the iron rod (M.O. 2). We have seen the iron rod (M.O. 2), and it is a formidable weapon, capable of causing great harm. The autopsy held by Dr. Savithri (P.W. 7) shows that there were extensive injuries on the body, with serious internal damage consisting of fractures of the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth ribs. The injuries, in their total effect, were sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, according to the medical evidence. P.W. 1 is the brother of the accused, and there are no grounds at all for distrusting or rejecting the testimonies pf the disinterested eye-witnesses further confirmed, at least in part by the judicial confession of the accused, and his own statement at trial. The question that we have to seriously consider is not the truth of the actual incident, but whether as strenuously urged before us by learned Counsel appearing as amicus curiae (Sri Fyzsee Mahmood), the accused is entitled to the benefit of Exception 1 to Section 300, Indian Penal Code.
3. On this restricted aspect, the facts are as follows. There can be no doubt at all that the accused returned home very late that night, namely about 2 A.M. Kaveri Ammal (deceased) was greatly provoked by this conduct of her husband. She asked the accused where he had been roaming about all that time, and whether fodder should not be given to the cattle. The accused retorted that his wife (deceased) could herself have attended to this, as she had little other work to do. Kaveri Ammal then said that if the accused persisted in returning late, in that fashion without attending to his duties, she would be better advised to leave him, and live with someone else. There are contradictory versions in the testimony of P.W. 1 about this, but we are of the view that it is more probable that the deceased said that she would go and live with someone else, if the accused persisted in his conduct. For, P.W. 1, adds that the accused retorted 'To whom are you going?' and then caught hold of his wife by the hair. Undoubtedly, the words of the wife appear to have infuriated the accused, beyond all measure. They must have conveyed the impression that Kaveri Ammal (deceased) was willing to go and live with some other man, if the accused continued to be an unsatisfactory husband. On earlier occasions, the pair had frequently quarrelled, and the deceased had gone and stayed away with her mother. Normally, she would have said that she would leave the accused and live with her mother, but P.W. 1 is specific that she said that she would live ' with someone else.'
4. Not merely this, but when the accused was sufficiently provoked to catch hold of his wife by the hair, the evidence makes it clear that she abused him in very indecent terms. P.W. 1 states that the language of the woman was such, that he himself felt them to be wounding, and sufficient to provoke any human being. There is a further aspect of this matter, which also impinges upon the applicability of Exception 1 to Section 300, Indian Penal Code to the facts. P.W. 1 is the only witness to the genesis of the incident, and P.Ws. 2 and 3 merely confirm the truth of the actual physical violence employed by the accused towards his wife, about which there is no doubt. But P.W. 1 cannot say who brought the broom-stick (M.O. 1) with which the accused first beat his wife. In his 342 Criminal Procedure Code statement, the accused definitely claims that, after he (accused) caught hold of his wife by the hair, she went inside and brought a broom-stick. If she did so, and all that we know of the case renders this circumstance possible even if it is not established by any evidence, there can be no doubt at all that her conduct would amount to further aggravation of the provocation that she had already offered to her husband, by her threat to leave him and live with someone else.
5. As is well known, the true principle here is that the applicability of the Exception has to be judged, in relation to the class of persons to whom it is applied, their general habits of living, speech, and domestic relations. Certainly, a husband is likely to he gravely provoked by the threat of his wife to leave him and to live with some-one else ; if the wife did bring a broom-stick, during the course of the incident, that is likely to have deprived the husband of all powers of self-control. We are hence satisfied that this is an appropriate case for the award of the benefit of Exception 1 to Section 300, Indian Penal Code. Accordingly, we award the appellant the benefit of this Exception and convict him instead under Section 304, Part I of the Indian Penal Code. Taking all the circumstances into account, the accused is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for six years and the appeal is otherwise dismissed.