The Delhi High Court on Thursday set free a businessman who killed a guest while indulging in celebratory firing at a marriage saying “it does not attract criminality”.
But the judges directed him to pay a compensation of Rs 3.5 lakh compensation to the deceased’s family.
“Wanton act of celebration during marriage, resulting in the death of some person does not attract criminality as is conventionally understood,” noted the court.
“There is no motive for the crime. There is no desire to seek any pecuniary gain or cause any pecuniary loss to anyone. There is neither hatred nor anger much less any kind of enmity against the deceased,” the court observed.
A Bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Suresh Kait convicted Mukesh Kumar Gupta only under the lighter part II of the ‘culpable homicide not amounting to murder' but his sentence was a mere eight months which he had already spent in prison. The maximum punishment under this section is ten years.
Celebratory firing is a common affair in North India especially in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab and Haryana. On February 18, a groom was killed in Noida when his uncle, allegedly in a drunken state opened celebratory fire.
In the instant case, the trial court had acquitted Gupta after eyewitnesses turned hostile. The state then filed an appeal before the HC.
The bullet from Gupta’s revolver had hit victim Rajender on the forehead. Traversing upward, it lodged itself in the scalp. He was immediately apprehended by other guests and beaten up.
Gupta’s lawyer B S Rana did not challenge the fact that the bullet had emanated from his client’s licensed revolver but argued it was a mere accident.
The court also accepted Gupta’s argument that since the eye-witnesses have turned hostile, there is no evidence as to what preceded the firing and he neither has any
criminal background nor any motive to kill.