The court must attribute to the intoxicated man the same knowledge as if he was quite sober but so far as intent or intention is concerned, the court must gather it from the attending general circumstances of the case paying due regard to the degree of intoxication.


[Case Brief] Basdev v/s the State of Pepsu


Case name:

Basdev v/s the State of Pepsu.

Case number:

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 147 OF 1955.

Court:

Supreme Court of India

Bench:

Shri Justice N. Chandrasekhara Aiyar,J.

Shri Justice Narwarlal H Bhagwati,J.

Decided on:

April 17, 1956

Relevant Act/Sections:

The   Indian Penal Code,1860


Ø BRIEF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:

1. The appellant Basdev of the village  of Harigarh is a retired military Jamadar. He is charged with the murder of a young boy named Maghar Singh, aged about 15 or 16. Both of them and others of the same village went to attend a wedding in another village. All of them went to the house of the bride to take the midday meal on the 12th March, 1954.

2. Some had settled down in their seats and some bad not. The appellant asked Maghar Singh, the young boy to step aside a little so that he may occupy a convenient seat. But Maghar Singh did not move. The appellant whipped out a pistol and shot the boy

3.  in the abdomen. The injury proved fatal.

4. Basdev was charged with murder and the Sessions Judge held that he was highly intoxicated and there was absence of motive and premeditation to kill. He was granted lesser penalty of transportation for life.

5. An appeal to the PEPSU High Court at Patiala proved unsuccessful after which a Special Leave Petition was filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court which was granted.


Ø ISSUE BEFORE THE COURT:

1. Whether the offence committed by the petitioner fell under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code or section 304 of the Indian Penal Code having regard to the provisions of section 86 of the Indian Penal Code?


Ø RATIO OF THE COURT

1. Taking into consideration the applicability of Section 82 of the Indian Penal Code in the present case, the court referred to various precedents of English Courts as to whether the intent to also presumed to be present even when intoxicated.

2. So far as knowledge is Concerned, we must attribute to the intoxicated man the same knowledge as if he was quite sober. But so far as intent or intention is concerned, we must gather it from the attending general circumstances of the case paying due regard to the degree of intoxication.

3. The court referred to a judgement ofHouse of Lord’s decision in Director of Public Prosecutions v. Beard [1887] 16 Cox C.C. 306 where a rule of law was established as follows:

(1) That insanity, whether produced by drunkenness or otherwise, is a defence to the crime charged;

(2) That evidence of drunkenness which renders the accused incapable of forming the specific intent essential to constitute the crime should be taken into consideration with the other facts proved in order to determine whether or not he had this intent,

(3) That evidence of drunkenness falling short of a proved incapacity in the accused to form the intent necessary to constitute the crime, and merely establishing that his mind was affected by drink so that he more readily gave way to some violent passion, does not rebut the presumption that a man intends the natural consequences of his acts.

4. The court examined the facts that the accused was capable of moving himself and talking coherently. He walked by himself to the darwaza and also decided for a chair to sit on. He after shooting the deceased tried to escape and after realizing what he had done also asked for an apology. He also did not require and support while he was at the police station. Although the accused was under the influence of drink, he was not so much under its influence that his mind was so obscured by the drink that there was incapacity in him to form the required intention as stated.

5. The court also settled the rule of law:

a) That insanity, whether produced by drunkenness or otherwise, is a defence to the crime charged;

b) The evidence of drunkenness which renders the accused incapable of forming the specific intent essential to constitute the crime should be taken into consideration with  the other facts proved in order to determine whether or not he had this intent;

c)  That evidence of drunkenness falling short of a proved incapacity in the accused to form the intent necessary to constitute the crime, and merely establishing that his mind was affected by drink so that he more readily gave way to some violent passion, does not rebut the presumption that a man intends the natural consequences of his acts.


Ø DECISION HELD BY COURT:

1. The offence was not reduced from murder to culpable homicide not amounting to murder under the second part of section 304 of the Indian Penal Code.

2. The conviction and sentence were held as right.

3. The appeal was dismissed.

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