No denial of right of self defence if attacked : SC

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New Delhi, Feb 17 (UNI) The Supreme Court has held that if a person is being attacked, he cannot be denied the right of self defence.

The ruling was handed down by a bench comprising Justices P P Naolekar and Lokeshwar Singh Panta while setting aside the conviction and sentence of Babu Ram and Indraj who were sentenced to life imprisonment for committing the murder of one Antram on March 3,1993 in Punjab.

The two had retaliated in self defence when Antram attacked Indraj and his wife Maya who tried to rescue her husband who was being attacked and in the process Antram died.

The trial court convicted and sentenced the two to life imprisonment.

Punjab and Haryana High courts dismissed their appeals denying them the benefit of right of self-defence.

The apex court in its judgement dated February 15 noted, ''in the present case the prosecution has not explained the injuries on the person of the accused Indraj and his wife Maya Devi.

It has come in the evidence of SI Hardev Singh , the investigative officer, that the accused Indraj was admitted in the hospital and was arrested after his discharge from hospital on March 8, 1993.

Having given our careful consideration to the submissions made by the learned counsel for the parties and in the light of the evidence, it was clear that the prosecution has failed to prove the case against appellants beyond reasonable doubt.

The High Court was in error in brushing aside serious infirmity in the prosecution case regarding non-explanation of the injuries sustained by the accused Indraj and his wife Smt Maya.

We do not agree with the courts below that the accused Indraj had no right of private defence to his body or to the person of his wife.

Antram gave six-seven blows to her husband with sharp as well as blunt side of Capa which he was holding in his hand.

We are of the view that in such a situation the accused Indraj could necessarily aprehend danger to his life and to the life of his wife at the hands of Antram and in that process if one blow was inflicted by the accused on the person of Antram which proved fatal, the accused had the right of private defence to his body as well as to the person of his wife, Smt Maya Devi'' The apex court set aside the conviction and sentence of three appellants Baburam, Indraj, Suraj Dev, son of Indraj and ordered their immediate release from jail if not required in any other case.

The court also directed that if the fine imposed on them has been realised, the same shall be paid back to them.

UNI AKS/SC SY RS1803

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