Rejecting a proposal for marriage can’t be ‘grave and sudden provocation’ for committing murder: Karnataka High Court
“The defence of ‘grave and sudden provocation’ shall not avail an accused if the result of permitting such a defence is to dehumanise the person of the victim, stultify her individual autonomy, agency and dignity,” The Karnataka High Court
The Court observed this while rejected the defence of ‘grave and sudden provocation’ pleaded by a jilted lover who murdered a girl on her refusal to agree to his marriage proposal.
Case of the Prosecution
As per the prosecution, the accused entered the house of the deceased Pushpa and started telling the victim girl that she should marry him and if she rejected him, he would not allow her to marry anybody else and, thereupon, when the victim rejected his proposal, he whipped out a knife and went on stabbing on her chest, on her abdomen and on her shoulder etc., causing seven to eight serious injuries. Later, she succumbed to the injuries in the hospital.
Observation made by the Court
“To permit the accused to take a defence of ‘grave and sudden provocation’ in the facts and circumstances of this case apart from being “obnoxious”, will result in negation of the fundamental rights of the deceased under Articles 14, 19 (1) (a) and 21 of the Constitution of India and, as such, opposed to public policy,” the Bench observed.
- The court ruled this while upholding the session court order of 2016, sentencing life imprisonment to Vijendra Suravase.
“Extending the protective umbrella of ‘grave and sudden’ provocation to the accused, in the facts and circumstances of this case, will have the effect of robbing the victim of her right to express her `choice’.”
- After scrutinizing the evidence the Court held, “He (accused) was trying to assert some kind of domain over CW.1 (Pushpa) only because he was a male and he was unwilling to reconcile to the situation that CW.1 as a woman could rebuff the same and assert her individual autonomy and agency to take a decision on the choice of her life partner.”
- “The circumstance in which he had committed the offence clearly shows that he could not stand the fact that a woman could refuse his proposal to marry him. In such a situation, it is completely absurd to contend that there was grave and sudden provocation from the side of the deceased especially when, while she was rejecting the proposal what she was essentially doing was asserting her individual autonomy which was entirely legitimate for her to do,” it added.Advertisement
- It further opined that, “Accused has betrayed utter disdain to the inherent right of C.W.1 as a human; to her individual autonomy to choose who to love and to her right to choose a husband and even, to defer to the wishes of her parents in matters of significance in her life, which in itself is a conscious “choice”. This in essence is a fundamental right guaranteed to every individual under Articles 14, 19 (1) (a) and 21 of Constitution of India.”
“We are even more conscious of the ‘felt necessities of the time’ that wherever text does not inhibit and context demands, ordinary laws of the land should be given such construction and, scope of defences available so mapped that lofty principles enshrined under the above Articles are given full effect to and dehumanizing effect of the defences are suitably pruned without doing violence to the statute creating such defence while at the same time making it resonate with the current understanding of the concept of gender justice and dignity of the individual.”
- Citing ‘The Declaration of Independence’ of July 4, 1776, the bench noted “Life, Liberty and pursuit of Happiness is an entitlement and a right without which there cannot be a ‘right to life’ for an individual and shorn of the same, it will only be a creature’s existence.”
- “The defence of ‘grave and sudden’ provocation shall not avail an accused if the result of permitting such a defence is to dehumanise the person of victim, stultify her individual autonomy, agency and dignity,” thus the Court concluded while dismissing the appeal.
Case Name: Vijay@Vijendra s/o Subhash Suravase And State Of Karnataka
Citation: Criminal Appeal No 200141/2016.
Coram: Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav and Justice P Krishna Bhat.
[Rejecting a proposal for marriage can’t be ‘grave and sudden provocation’ for committing murder: Karnataka High Court]