It would be futile to lay down a universal standard for measuring the gravity of provocation in a human being to determine if the provocation was grave and sudden enough to commit an offence, said the Bombay high court.
"The circumstances in which a human being may be provoked into losing control of himself are of infinite variety," the high court held while converting the murder charge against an accused to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The relief was granted on an appeal filed by Rohidas Kasrale, a resident of Thane, who was sentenced to life in 2003 for strangulating his wife to death.
Kasrale and his wife Lata-both insurance agents-were having a troubled relationship. In November 2002, following a late night meeting, both of them returned home.
Three youths came to their house and began talking to Lata. When Kasrale asked Lata who they were, she got annoyed and a quarrel ensued and she slapped him, stating that he had no business to ask about it.
Angered by this, Kasrale strangled Lata, who died because of compression of the throat. Kasrale then called up their relatives, including Lata's brothers, and told them that three unknown people had entered the house, hit him unconscious and thereafter, killed Lata.
He later went to Kalwa Police Station and confessed that he was responsible for the murder.
Kasrale's advocate Arfan Sait had submitted that the prosecution's case is based only on the alleged confessional statement, which is inadmissible as evidence.
Sait contended that once the confessional statement is excluded, there was hardly any evidence against Kasrale. The court observed that Kasrale's reaction must be judged in the background of the fact that he had some objection about the conduct and character of Lata.
"He would naturally be anxious to know who those people were and what was the occasion for them to come at such late hours and why his wife Lata was entertaining them," court held.
A division bench of justice V M Kanade and A M Thipsay said there is no doubt in their mind that Kasrale's act was the result of a loss of his self control, which arose because of grave and sudden provocation caused due to the words, action and conduct of Lata.