Orissa High Court Modifies Murder Conviction to Culpable Homicide for Scheduled Caste Community Member

Orissa high court Law Insider

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Published on: January 19, 2024 at 12:00 IST

The Orissa High Court has adjusted the conviction of a man from the Scheduled Caste community, originally charged with murder, to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The Court, presided over by a Division Bench of Justice Debabrata Dash and Justice Gourishankar Satapathy, justified this alteration by noting the elevated temper often observed in people from scheduled areas, where behavior can be unpredictable.

The case revolved around an altercation between the appellant and the deceased, resulting in a fatal blow to the latter’s head with a piece of hard wood.

The trial Court convicted the appellant under Section 302 of the IPC for murder. However, the High Court, considering the societal context and common high temper in rural areas, modified the conviction to culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304-I of the IPC.

The Court emphasized that people in scheduled areas, especially from rural backgrounds, may exhibit unexpected and aggressive behavior for seemingly trivial reasons. It took note of the post-mortem report, which did not rule out the possibility of the injuries being caused by a single blow.

The Court also considered that the appellant did not pre-plan the assault, as he did not carry the piece of wood to the scene.

This decision follows a pattern in the Orissa High Court, where lenient views are sometimes taken in murder cases involving individuals from scheduled or rural areas. The court has previously acknowledged that individuals from such backgrounds are susceptible to high temper and may respond unexpectedly in aggressive manners.

In October of the previous year, a similar lenient view was taken by Justice Debabrata Dash, altering the murder conviction of a rural laborer to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The Court had acknowledged that individuals working as laborers from rural areas are prone to high temper and may behave unexpectedly and aggressively for seemingly trivial reasons.

Similarly, in September 2023, another Division Bench granted partial relief to a tribal man convicted of murder, altering the conviction to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The Court observed that it is not unusual for a tribal man to lose temper even on trivial issues.

Case Title: Krushna Dom @ Domb v. State of Odisha

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