The court stated that the accused had inflicted injuries on the victim as “punishment” because she had not prepared food at home, and that “there was no intention on his part to cause death”.
A man who killed his drunken wife for not preparing food did not commit murder but culpable homicide, the Karnataka High Court has held, passing an order for his release from jail. The High Court modified a lower court order by saying that the prosecution was not able to explain the intention of the accused to commit the murder. It was however established that there was “provocation” which enraged the accused to club his wife to death.
According to the High Court, it was found from the prosecution evidence that the woman did not prepare food at home on the day of the incident, which had enraged the accused and prompted him to take such a drastic step all of a sudden. Hence, he removed a club from the house and inflicted injuries as part of punishment, the court stated, adding that “there was no intention on his part to cause death”. Therefore, the court held, “the alleged act of the accused comes within the purview of exception-1 to Section 300 of IPC”, categorising the death of the woman as ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder’.
The accused Suresha from Mudigere in Chikkamagaluru district had approached the High Court with the appeal in 2017, after a trial court convicted him of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment in November that year. A Division Bench of Justice K Somashekar and Justice T G Shivashankare Gowda heard the appeal.
Suresha was living separately from his first wife Meenakshi when he got married to Radha, who had also separated from her husband Nanjaiah. The couple had two children. One day in 2016, Suresha had come back from work on a festival day to find that Radha was drunk and had not cooked food at home. Enraged by this, Suresha fatally hit her with a club.
The High Court, modifying the conviction and order of sentence of the trial court, has now convicted Suresha under Section 304 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), instead of Section 302 of the IPC (murder). The period of six years and 22 days that the accused spent in incarceration is sufficient for the offence punishable under Section 304 Part 1 of the IPC, the High Court said, further directing the jail authorities to “set him at liberty forthwith, if he is not required in any other case”.
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