The Supreme Court in the case Velthepu Srinivas v. State Of Andhra Pradesh, now the State of Telangana observed while affirming that the life imprisonment of three accused or appellants for murder, modified the sentence of another accused, A3 to culpable homicide and sentenced him to ten years.
The Division bench comprising of Justice BR Gavai and Justice PS Narasimha in the case observed ad has opined that the Trial and the High Court convicted A3 based on Section 34, the common intention of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Thus, he was present near the scene of offence and had familial relations with the other accused.
The court in the case noted that there is neither oral nor documentary evidence to attribute A-3 with the intent to murder and that the inference was drawn mechanically under Section 34 merely based on his presence near the scene of offence and his familial relations with the other accused.
Facts of the Case:
The accused, 1 to 4, and the deceased, come from the same village.
The accused person in the case belong to the same family and as per the prosecution’s stance, the sister of the deceased and the wife of A-4 were political aspirants. They contested the Gram Panchayat elections and in the elections, the deceased’s sister succeeded, and the wife of A-4 lost, resulting in animosity between the two groups. This eventually led to the murder of the deceased.
The court in the case observed and drew attention to the evidence against A3.
The court in the case noted that as per the Chargesheet, A3 used a stone to hit the deceased on the head. Thus, no further details have provided by the said court.
The said court also marked that while the axe was used by other accuse d to assault the deceased, A3 never took the axe.
The court stated that the cumulative circumstances in which A-3 was seen participating in the crime would clearly indicate that he had no intention to commit murder of the deceased for two clear reasons:
Firstly, while every other accused took the axe used by A1 initially and contributed to the assault with this weapon, A-3 did not wield the axe at any point of time.
Secondly, A-3 only had a stone in his hand, and in fact, some of the witnesses said that he merely threatened in case they seek to intervene and prevent the assault.
The Apex Court in the case observed and has held that A-3 did not share a common intention to commit the murder. However, considering A3’s participation in the assault, thus, the Court held him liable for culpable homicide.
The court stated that A-3 should have known that using a stone to hit the head of the deceased is likely to cause death.
The court in its order stated that the said court upheld the conviction of other accused under Section 302 read with Section 34 IPC and dismissed their Criminal Appeal, it acquitted the A3.
Thus, this court acquit A-3 of the conviction and sentence under Section 302 read with Section 34 and convict him under Section 304 Part II and sentence him to undergo imprisonment for 10 years.