‘Kirpan’ part of religious belief; The fact that it can be used as a weapon does not ipso facto make it a weapon of offense: Supreme Court

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The fact that the kirpan worn by members of a specific community as part of a religious belief could also be used as a crime weapon does not ipso facto make it a crime weapon, the Supreme Court observed during the ruling. acquittal of an accused of murder. the case arose out of an incident in 1999. Appellant Om Prakash Singh and a co-accused were fighting between …

The fact that the kirpan worn by members of a specific community as part of a religious belief can also be used as a crime weapon, does not ipso facto make it a crime weapon, the Supreme Court observed during the acquittal of a murder accused.

The case arises out of an incident in 1999. Appellant Om Prakash Singh and a co-accused were fighting each other while playing cricket and the deceased attempted to intervene to appease them. According to the prosecution, the same night the deceased was allegedly assaulted with a kirpan by the first accused while the appellant was detaining the deceased. The first accused was convicted under article 302 of the Indian Penal Code while the appellant was convicted under articles 302,34 of the IPC.

One of the arguments raised on appeal to the Supreme Court was that the appellant was unaware that the first accused was wearing a kirpan. It has further been argued that a kirpan is not an assault weapon, but is worn on the person by individuals of a specific community as part of a religious belief. On the other hand, the state argued that the appellant detained the deceased while the co-accused stabbed him and that if he had not detained the deceased he could have fled for his life. .

Referring to the evidence on file, the judiciary observed that there is no evidence that the appellant knew that the co-accused was carrying a kirpan and intended to use it for assault. . Therefore, it cannot be inferred that, by his words, the appellant intended to commit a murderous assault on the deceased and held him to facilitate the same. added the bench.

“It has been correctly argued on behalf of the appellant that a kirpan is normally worn on the person by members of a specific community as part of a religious belief. The fact that it can also be used as a crime weapon, does not ipso facto mean turning it into a crime weapon. “, the court observed.

Observing thus, the court declared that the appellant’s conviction under Article 302/34 IPC is not sustainable because the existence of a common intention to kill the deceased has not been established. Therefore, we change his conviction under Articles 324, 110 IPC and sentence him to the period suffered, the court added.

Case: Om Prakash Singh v Punjab State; CrA 1039 FROM 2015
Reference: LL 2021 SC 360
Coram: Judges Navin Sinha and R. Subhash Reddy
Counsel: Adv Rishi Malhotra for the appellant, Adv Jaspreet Gogia for the State

Click here to read / download the judgment


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