Bombay High court convicts lifer of lesser charge after he cites self-defence for killing friend

Mumbai: The Bombay High court has reduced the murder term of a 35-year-old man to a lighter sentence after he claimed he stabbed his friend in self-defence as the deceased had been forcing him to engage in “unnatural sex”.

In an order passed earlier this month, a bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sarang Kotwal observed that the appellant’s claim was plausible and it was quite likely that he stabbed his friend in the heat of the moment, while trying to protect himself.

The incident took place in Mumbai’s Nagpada area in 2011.

The bench set aside the man’s conviction on the murder charge and held him guilty of the lesser charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Thus, it also set aside his life imprisonment and considered the seven years that he had already spent in custody as the appropriate quantum of punishment.

The court was hearing an appeal filed by the accused challenging his conviction on the charge of murder under section 302 of the IPC and the life term awarded to him by the Mumbai Sessions court in 2013.

He argued that, at best, he could be charged and convicted under section 304 of the IPC for culpable homicide not amounting to murder since he had no intention of killing his friend.

The accused also pointed out that he had sustained serious injuries in the incident as he was assaulted by his friend for rejecting the latter’s demand.

“I snatched the knife with which he was attacking me and assaulted him with it,” the man stated in his appeal.

The prosecution opposed the appeal and argued that the appellant could have inflicted the injuries upon himself to suit his narrative. The bench dismissed the argument.

“Taking into consideration the serious nature of the injuries suffered by the appellant, we are of the view that such serious injuries cannot be self-inflicted. We are of the considered view that the explanation, as given by the appellant, is plausible,” the bench said.

“If a person is asked to indulge in unnatural sex and is assaulted, it is quite probable that such a person, in the heat of moment, would assault the person demanding such an unnatural act,” it added.

“We find that the sentence undergone by the appellant would sub-serve the ends of justice,” the HC bench said.

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