KRISHA KAMAL | PRESIDENCY UNIVERSITY, BANGALORE | 23rd March 2020
BHAGWAN SINGH V. STATE OF UTTARAKHAND
The appellant after the marriage ceremony of his son, when they reached to their courtyard at Dafaut village in Uttarakhand, suddenly fired celebratory gunshots with his licensed gun. That apparently ended up injuring 5 persons who were standing in the courtyard. All the injured people were taken to the hospital where 2 of them died.
The appellant was charged under section 302 and 307 of IPC. These sections deal with punishment for murder and attempt to murder respectively. Along with these he was also charged under section 25 of the Arms Act which deals with punishment for certain offences.
Based on the testimonies of eye witnesses and injured witnesses the Session Court held Bhagwan Singh guilty for the offences. He was sentenced for life imprisonment and a fine of Rs.20,000/- was imposed on him.
The appellant appealed before the High Court with a primary contention saying there was no intention by his end to cause death to anyone. He also stated that the firing was accidental where kids were playing with a ball and the ball somehow got struck against the gun which was in his hand and led to the firing of shots. So his approach before the High Court was that, that the whole incident was accidental and not at all incidental.
He also approached that he shouldn’t be charged under section 302 and 307 as the act done by him was unintentional.
Based on the facts and evidences which were provided before the court, the court rejected the appeal. The act of gun-shot firing by the appellant was very careless and he must have the knowledge that this act of his may cause injury or death to any person. Any reasonable safety measure was not taken by the appellant. On these grounds the court rejected the appeal.
It was also observed that the incidents of celebratory gunshots are increasing very rapidly. So, the court held that licensed guns for self-protection or safety and security of crops and cattle cannot be used for the celebratory firing as they are potential enough to cause fatal accidents.
The court partly allowed the appeal. His conviction under section 302 and 307 of IPC was modified to section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to death) & 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of IPC. He was sentenced with a rigorous imprisonment of 10 years and no modification was done on the fine imposed by the trial court.