Respite for men convicted of beating up vendor’s father

Three men convicted for grievously injuring a man, who later died, have got respite from the Delhi High Court, which has refused to interfere with their three-and-a-half-year jail term.

The Delhi Police had moved the HC seeking to hold the men guilty for the offence of murder.

Scuffle over 50 paise

A Bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Vinod Goel recently dismissed the appeal and refused to interfere with a trial court’s order, convicting and sentencing the three men for the milder offence of voluntarily causing grievous hurt.

The Bench said that it was unable to be persuaded that the trial court had committed any grave illegality in coming to the conclusion that the men had not intended to kill the man.

On March 28, 1998, the three men had gone to purchase a bundle of ‘beedi’ from a vendor, who demanded Rs. 3 for it.

The accused claimed it cost Rs. 2.50. This was followed by a verbal altercation that turned into a scuffle.

When the men started assaulting him, the vendor cried out to his father, who rushed to his rescue. The accused beat up the father with sticks. The man died three days later on March 31, 1998. Simple injuries were caused to his son.

The three men were sentenced to three-and-a-half years in jail by a trial court in 2001 for grievously injuring the father.

The trial court had concluded that none of the accused had intended to kill the man. It convicted the three accused for offence punishable under Section 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the IPC.

In 2003, the police moved the High Court seeking to hold them guilty for the offence of murder.

“It may have been debatable, given the blunt force injuries on the head of the deceased, that the offence could be one punishable under Section 304 (2) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC,” the High Court said.

“However, at this distance in time, i.e. more than 20 years after the incident, and particularly given that by the time the trial concluded and the order on sentence was passed the three accused had already undergone more than three-and-a-half years of imprisonment and were in fact sentenced for the offence punishable under Section 326 to the period already undergone, the court is not inclined to interfere with either the conviction or the sentence awarded by the trial court [sic.],” the Bench said.

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