Mumbai: HC alters man's conviction of murder charge to culpable homicide over wife's abusive comments that lead to her killing

The deceased allegedly called Chauhan a 'transgender and a pimp' and was so enraged that she brought a knife from the kitchen and tried to attack him.

Narsi BenwalUpdated: Tuesday, February 15, 2022, 10:29 PM IST
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Bombay HC | Photo: Representative Image

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday observed that women usually do not resort to physical violence as the "mother" in then supersedes physical violence, which isn't the same in the case of men. The HC accordingly altered the conviction of a man from murdering his wife to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, as she had called him a "transgender and pimp."

A bench of Justices Sadhana Jadhav and Prithviraj Chavan was hearing an appeal filed by one Pravin Chauhan (36), a resident of Kamothe, Navi Mumbai, challenging his conviction and life sentence imposed on him by a sessions court in April 2012.

As per the prosecution case, Chauhan had in April 2011, approached the Kalamboli police station, wearing blood-stained clothes, in the early morning. He reportedly informed the officers on duty that he had killed his wife. He even brought the police to the crime scene, identified his wife's body and even took the cops to his in-laws.

As per the FIR, Chauhan suspected the character of his deceased wife Renu, which was his third wife as his first two marriages didn't work. Similarly, even Renu's marriage didn't work twice.

On a relevant day, Chauhan had seen a man going out of his house and he questioned Renu about it. The couple argued for a while and then consumed liquor, after which Renu started hurling abuses against her husband.

The deceased allegedly called Chauhan a 'transgender and a pimp' and was so enraged that she brought a knife from the kitchen and tried to attack him. While continuing to abuse, Chauhan challenged him to assault her and subsequently, he mounted 26 stabs on her killing her at the spot.

Taking note of the facts of the case, the bench said, "The tempers were high. At the relevant time, Renu's conduct was beyond reproach. He claims to have had maintained his cool for quite some time. However, he lost it when she brought the knife from the kitchen and provoked him to hurt her if he could.

"Probably, the Chauvinism in him has arisen. She had expressed disgust and abhorrence at his very manliness and had forgotten for a moment that he is a father of their two daughters," the bench added.

The judgment authored by Justice Jadhav further stated, "It is rightly said that if you are patient in one moment of anger, you will escape hundred days of sorrow. Anger is that element of human psychology that may express itself in many ways. The demon in you may awake for a single moment or then you may have reached that penultimate stage where you can ignore and forgive."

The judge then stated that the degrees of physical violence are different in cases of men and women. "In every alternative case, where we are dealing with a murder of the wife at the hands of her husband in a moment of the grave and sudden provocation by the wife, the husband violently attacks his wife," Justice Jadhav said, adding, "There is physical violence, there is sexual violence, however, this sort of physical violence is less seen amongst women even in a moment of anger and in all probabilities, it is the mother in a woman which supersedes her element of physical violence."

"There could be psychological violence by women," the bench added, further stating, "In the present case, in that moment of anger, both the spouses had almost forgotten the two children who were hardly three years and 1½ years old at the time of the incident. The mother died and the father was thrown to the gallows by his own act."

The judges, accordingly, held that this case would fall under the culpable homicide not amounting to murder and not murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

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