Suraj Jagannath v State of Maharashtra (Criminal Appeal No. 1885 of 2019)- Case analysis - Synopsis
Lakshay Parmar 6 Jan 2020

Suraj Jagannath v State of Maharashtra (Criminal Appeal No. 1885 of 2019)- Case analysis

Intoxication is not a mitigating factor when accused was not in a highly inebriated condition.


Core issue- Whether intoxication is a mitigating factor when accused was not in a highly inebriated condition.

Whether the death of the wife will amount to murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder.


Facts of the case- The accused belonging to Pune was under intoxication when he poured kerosene on his wife and then  a match stick on her due to which she was set ablaze.

The Trial Court and the High court passed the order, the accused was punishable under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code. So the aggrieved has presented the appeal in the Supreme Court.


Plaintiffs contentions:

1.       That the accused had no intention of killing his deceased wife, he even tried to save her by pouring water on her and getting injured while doing so.

2.       He further argued that the accused was under the influence of liquor, so his actions were not known to him.    

3.       The plaintiff also relied on the case of Kalu Ram v State of Rajasthan to alter the sentence under Section 304(Culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC rather than 302(Punishment for murder).

Contentions by the state were to dismiss the respective plea.


Observations made by the court:

·          Differing  from the appeal, Shri Nishant Ramakantrao Katneshwarkar held that the accused was punishable under Section 300(murder) and that the crime committed by the accused was guilty of murder. He also said that the implications of pouring kerosene on an individual and setting them on fire will be known to every person of average intelligence.

·         The accused may have poured water on his deceased wife, but the conviction under Part II of the IPC, Section 304(Culpable homicide not amounting to murder), does not change. It is not regarded as an explanatory factor as he only assisted the deceased when she made a noise of support. In the case Kalu Ram v. State of Rajasthan, the pronouncement will not be considered appropriate because in the present case the situation is different.

·         The accused was fully aware of what can be proved by stating the conversion between the appellant and the deceased, no record has been found to be at a highly intoxicated stage, so that Section 300 is applicable and the exception in that Section is not relevant.( Exception 4. —“Culpable homicide is not murder if it is committed without premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner”).

In claiming the intoxication as a mitigating factor, the SC replied that only when the accused is a regular drinker can intoxication be considered as claimed. In this case, it can only be considered as an aggravating factor so that the appellant's plea was rejected as a brutal and diabolical act was the crime committed. The plea can only be permitted if the accused proves the intoxication resulting in the absence of his intelligence as a result of his actions and in the creation of his intention. The court found Kalu Ram's case, which was cited by the appellant, irrelevant.


The SC held to convicted the accused under Section 302 of IPC and they don’t find any misrepresentation made by the Trial Court and the High Court so they completely agree by their judgment. So the appeal made by the accused was dismissed.


The main defence as to convert the charge from section 302 to section 304 is that at the time of commission of the act the accused should have been in a condition where he was not aware of what he was doing and had no control over his mind




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