Disapproving of a trial court’s sentence, the Bombay High Court converted a murder charge to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
“The judge appears to have ignored or forgotten the provisions of section 302 (murder), while passing the judgment,” said Justice JH Bhatia.
The case pertained to the murder of a boy near a circus tent in Borivli in 1998. The high court was hearing an appeal filed by the convict, Mohammad Ansari, against his conviction in 2003.
Under the Indian Penal Code, the minimum sentence that can be awarded to a murder convict is life imprisonment and a maximum of death sentence. Culpable homicide not amounting to murder invites a sentence of 10 years.
Justice Bhatia while retaining the sentence, converted Ansari’s conviction to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, observing Ansari had no intention to cause the death of the victim, Uday Bagave.
“The learned additional sessions judge, who passed the order of conviction and sentence, was quite a senior judicial officer and was expected to know that in case of conviction for offence of murder under section 302 of the IPC, only sentence which could be awarded is either death or life imprisonment,” said Justice Bhatia.
“There is no provision of awarding a lesser imprisonment under section 302. The judge appears to have ignored or forgotten the provisions of section 302, while passing the judgment,” the judge observed.