SC upholds life term of Army man for killing JCO
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has upheld the award of life imprisonment to a sacked army man for killing his Post Commander at Baramulla in 2006 after the deceased physically assaulted and attempted to sodomise him.
Upholding verdicts of Summary General Court Martial, the Armed Forces Tribunal and the Delhi High Court, a three-Judge Bench headed by Justice T.S Thakur rejected the plea of soldier B.D Khunte that he be given benefit of an exception clause of the penal code as he shot dead his senior Randhir Singh out of “sudden and grave provocation”.
The Court, which said that the provocation was there as the deceased had attempted to sodmoise the accused around 2:00 PM, however, observed that provocation cannot be termed as “sudden” as the murder took place at around 9:30 pm on 28th June, 2006.
“The only question, as seen earlier, is whether the incident that took place around 2:00 PM in the store room could mitigate the offence committed by the appellant.
“The answer to that question would in turn depend upon the nature of the incident and whether the same would constitute grave and sudden provocation for the appellant to have shot the deceased long after the store room incident had taken place,” the Bench, also comprising justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and R Banumathi, said.
It observed that there was no evidence that “the deceased had actually sodomised him.”
“The contention that the day time incident being such that the appellant could get a grave provocation, the moment he saw the deceased coming towards the place where he was on guard duty, also has not appealed to us,” it said. The Court, in its judgement, said, “It is not the case of the appellant that the deceased had come close to him or tried to act fresh with him so as to give to the appellant another provocation that could possibly justify his losing self-control and using his weapon….The appellant may have been angry with the deceased for his act of misdemeanour.
“But any such anger would only constitute a motive for taking revenge upon the deceased. It could not be described as a grave and sudden provocation for which deceased could have been shot the moment he came in front of the appellant…The very act of appearance of the deceased near the picket/post where the appellant was on duty could not, therefore, constitute a provocation within the meaning of Exception 1 to Section 300 IPC.”
It also said, “What is critical for a case to fall under Exception 1 to Section 300 IPC is that the provocation must not only be grave but sudden as well…”.
The Summary General Court Martial had held Khunte guilty for an offence punishable under Section 69 of the Army Act read with Section 302 of the Ranbir Penal Code and had sentenced him to life term besides dismissal from service. The decision was affirmed by the Armed Forces Tribunal and the Delhi High Court. (PTI)