12 May 2020

How to prove plea of Private Defence in criminal trial?

Two young men quarrelled suddenly and threw stones at each other. The stone pelted by the deceased missed; while the stone pelted by the appellant accidentally hit the head of the deceased. The deceased being the aggressor, the accused unintentionally assaulted him to defend himself. He threw a single stone. Weight, shape or size of which is not clear from the record. Neither the appellant acted in cruel manner nor had he taken any undue advantage of the situation. He simply ran away from the scene. It does not appear that the appellant had exceeded his Right of private defence. Therefore, he is entitled to acquittal as no action can be considered as offence, if it is done in exercise of right of private defence.[Para.25]

How-to-prove-Private -Defence
   At the time of the incident, the deceased was 18 year old and the appellant was 22 year old. There is no evidence of any previous enmity between both of them. There is also no evidence of "motive", "preparation", "premeditation" or "intention" of causing death or more harm than necessary for the purpose of defending himself. It was a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without taking any undue advantage or acting in any cruel or unusual manner, as a natural reflex, the appellant also picked a stone lying there and threw it towards the deceased. His action was a reflex action to save himself from the attack by the deceased. It was not the case of the prosecution itself that the accused targeted any particular body part or more precisely the head of the deceased and evidence also does not show any such intention of the appellant. There is no evidence to show the weight, size or shape of the stone used by the appellant to assess the intention or impact of blow to arrive at a conclusion favourable to the prosecution. There is also no evidence to show that the stone was unusual in size or shape or whether it was sufficient to cause death in the normal course. The injury found on the head of the deceased cannot be said that it was of an unusually severe nature or that it was intended to be so.[Para No.20]

   The law is well settled that the plea of self defence can be taken first time in appeal and that such plea can be established or proved by the prosecution evidence. Though burden to establish such plea lies on the accused, but it is not so heavy as the burden lies on the prosecution to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt. To examine such plea, the evidence needs not to weigh in golden scale.[Para No.9]

   Accused need not to produce evidence to establish the Right of private defence beyond reasonable doubt.[Para No.16]

Madhya Pradesh High Court

The State Of M.P.

Decided on 11/0/2020

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