In a murder case, there cannot be any general rule to specify whether the quarrel between the accused and the deceased was due to a sudden provocation or was premeditated, the Supreme Court has held.
"It is a question of fact and whether a quarrel is sudden or not, must necessarily depend upon the proved facts of each case," a bench of judges Arijit Pasayat and D K Jain observed while reducing to 10 years the life imprisonment of a man accused of killing his father.
Killing of a person due to sudden provocation without any premeditation would invite Exception 4, provided in Section 300 IPC under which such an offence would fall within the purview of 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder', the court said.
The bench passed the ruling while upholding an appeal filed by one Byvarapu Raju who challenged the life sentence imposed on him by a session's court and later affirmed by the Andhra Pradesh High Court for killing his 'drunkard' father.
Raju, reportedly killed his father Venkat Rao with a knife after the latter in drunken situation assaulted Nagamani, wife of the deceased and mother of the accused.
A sessions court convicted both the mother and son to life imprisonment but on an appeal the high court acquitted Nagamani for the offence but upheld the conviction of Raju, following which he moved the apex court.
Accepting the accused's plea that the murder was not premeditated, the apex court said a fight suddenly takes place, for which both parties are more or less to be blamed.