The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has set aside the life sentence imposed by a trial court on a man from Kanniyakumari district. The court convicted him for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced him to undergo 10 years rigorous imprisonment.
The case of the prosecution is that the deceased Ponniah was a retired TNSTC employee. He had two sons and three daughters. The younger of the two sons is Vijayakumar. It is said that Vijayakumar would quarrel with his father and sisters over property settlement.
Earlier in 2012, he had assaulted his father over a property dispute. In 2014, he came to the house of his father and started to verbally abuse his father and one of his sisters. Later, in a fit of rage he set fire to a set of clothes in the house.
Vijayakumar pushed his father Ponniah into the fire causing burn injuries to Ponniah. Later, Ponniah succumbed to his injuries. The Additional District and Sessions Court in Nagercoil sentenced Vijayakumar to life imprisonment. He challenged the judgment of the trial court.
A Division Bench of Justices P.N. Prakash and R. Hemalatha observed that there was no previous deliberation or determination to fight. In fact, the deceased was in the hospital under treatment for 10 days and thereafter succumbed to injuries.
The judges said that it can be easily inferred that the death in the present case was without any premeditation and in a fit of rage. The appellant was not armed with a deadly weapon and the victim died after 10 days of the occurrence.
However, the appellant had an intention to cause bodily injury to the deceased victim, the court said. The court set aside the conviction of the appellant under Section 302 (murder) of IPC and convicted him under Section 304 Part I (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC. He was sentenced to undergo 10 years rigorous imprisonment.