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Criminal Law-Attempt to murder-Accused attempting to starve a person gradually to accelerate his death-Ingredients of the offence-Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860), ss. 307, 308, 511. =B was married to the appellant in October, 1951, but their relations got strained by 1953. She was ill-treated and her health deteriorated due to maltreatment and under-nourish- ment. In 1956 she was deliberately starved and not allowed to leave the house in which they were living and only sometimes a morsel or so used to be thrown to her as alms are given to beggars. On June 5,1956, she managed to escape from the house and went to the Civil Hospital at Ludhiana. Her brother came down to Ludhiana on learning of the facts and made a complaint to the police. The doctor who attended on B sent a note to the police saying that she was seriously ill and might collapse any moment. The appellant was prosecuted for the offence of attempting to murder B under s. 307 Of the Indian Penal Code. The trial Court acquitted him but, on appeal, the High Court came to a finding, on the evidence, that the object of the appellant was to confine B and deprive her of regular food in pursuance of a scheme of regular starvation in order to accelerate her end, and convicted him under S. 307 Of the Indian Penal Code. On behalf of the appellant it was contended, inter alia, that whereas under S. 511 Of the Code for an Act to amount to the offence of attempting to commit an offence it need not be the last act and can be the first act towards the commission of the offence, under S. 307 it is the last act which, if effective to cause death, would constitute the offence of an attempt to commit murder, and that even if B had been deprived of food for a certain period, the act of so depriving her did not come under s. 307 as that act could not, by itself have caused her death, it being necessary for the period of starvation to continue for a longer period to cause death. Held, that a person commits an offence under s. 307 Of the Indian Penal Code when he has an intention to commit murder and in pursuance of that intention does an act towards its commission irrespective of the fact whether that act is the penultimate act or not. Abhayanand Mishra v. The State of Bihar, [1962] 2 S.C.R. 241, followed. Rex v. White, [1910] 2 K.B. 124, relied on. Queen v. Nidha, [1892] I.L.R. 14 All. 38 and Emperor v. Vasudeo Balwant Gogte, (1932) I.L.R. 56 BOM. 434, considered, 255 Jeetmal v. State, A.I.R. 1950 Madhya Bharat 21, disapproved. The word ‘act’ in S. 307 did not mean only a particular act of a person, but denoted, according to S. 33 Of the Code, as well, a series of acts. In the present case the course of conduct adopted by the appellant in regularly starving his wife B, comprised a series of acts which though they fell short of completing the series sufficient to kill her, came within the purview Of S. 307 Of the Indian Penal Code. The High Court was, therefore, right in convicting the appellant under that section.

PETITIONER:
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OM PARKASH

 Vs.

RESPONDENT:
THE STATE OF PUNJAB

DATE OF JUDGMENT:
24/04/1961

BENCH:
DAYAL, RAGHUBAR
BENCH:
DAYAL, RAGHUBAR
SUBBARAO, K.

CITATION:
 1961 AIR 1782 1962 SCR (2) 254
 CITATOR INFO :
 R 1965 SC 843 (6)

ACT:
Criminal Law-Attempt to murder-Accused attempting to starve
a person gradually to accelerate his death-Ingredients of
the offence-Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860), ss. 307,
308, 511.

HEADNOTE:
B was married to the appellant in October, 1951, but their
relations got strained by 1953. She was ill-treated and her
health deteriorated due to maltreatment and under-nourish-
ment. In 1956 she was deliberately starved and not allowed
to leave the house in which they were living and only
sometimes a morsel or so used to be thrown to her as alms
are given to beggars. On June 5,1956, she managed to escape
from the house and went to the Civil Hospital at Ludhiana.
Her brother came down to Ludhiana on learning of the facts
and made a complaint to the police. The doctor who attended
on B sent a note to the police saying that she was seriously
ill and might collapse any moment. The appellant was
prosecuted for the offence of attempting to murder B under
s. 307 Of the Indian Penal Code. The trial Court acquitted
him but, on appeal, the High Court came to a finding, on the
evidence, that the object of the appellant was to confine B
and deprive her of regular food in pursuance of a scheme of
regular starvation in order to accelerate her end, and
convicted him under S. 307 Of the Indian Penal Code. On
behalf of the appellant it was contended, inter alia, that
whereas under S. 511 Of the Code for an Act to amount to the
offence of attempting to commit an offence it need not be
the last act and can be the first act towards the commission
of the offence, under S. 307 it is the last act which, if
effective to cause death, would constitute the offence of an
attempt to commit murder, and that even if B had been
deprived of food for a certain period, the act of so
depriving her did not come under s. 307 as that act could
not, by itself have caused her death, it being necessary for
the period of starvation to continue for a longer period to
cause death.
Held, that a person commits an offence under s. 307 Of the
Indian Penal Code when he has an intention to commit murder
and in pursuance of that intention does an act towards its
commission irrespective of the fact whether that act is the
penultimate act or not.
Abhayanand Mishra v. The State of Bihar, [1962] 2 S.C.R.
241, followed.
Rex v. White, [1910] 2 K.B. 124, relied on.
Queen v. Nidha, [1892] I.L.R. 14 All. 38 and Emperor v.
Vasudeo Balwant Gogte, (1932) I.L.R. 56 BOM. 434,
considered,
 255
Jeetmal v. State, A.I.R. 1950 Madhya Bharat 21, disapproved.
The word 'act' in S. 307 did not mean only a particular act
of a person, but denoted, according to S. 33 Of the Code, as
well, a series of acts.
In the present case the course of conduct adopted by the
appellant in regularly starving his wife B, comprised a
series of acts which though they fell short of completing
the series sufficient to kill her, came within the purview
Of S. 307 Of the Indian Penal Code. The High Court was,
therefore, right in convicting the appellant under that
section.JUDGMENT:
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Criminal Appeal No. 177 of
1959.
Appeal by special leave from the judgment and order dated
May 23, 1958, of the Punjab High Court in Criminal Appeal
No. 515 of 1957.
Jai Gopal Sethi and R. L. Kohli, for the appellant.
B. K. Khanaa, R. H. Debhar and D. Gupta, for the
respondent. -
1961. April 24. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
RAGHUBAR DAYAL, J.-This appeal, by special leave, is against
the order of the Punjab High Court dismissing the
appellant's appeal against his conviction under s. 307,
Indian Penal Code.
Bimla Devi, P. W. 7, was married to the appellant in
October, 1951. Their relations got strained by 1953 and she
went to her brother's place and stayed there for about a
year, when she returned to her husband's place at the
assurance of the appellant's maternal uncle that she would
not be maltreated in future. She was, however, ill-treated
and her health deteriorated due to alleged maltreatment and
deliberate undernourishment. In 1956, she was deliberately
starved and was not allowed to leave the house and only
sometimes a morsel or so used to be thrown to her as alms
are given to beggars. She was denied food for days together
and used to be given gram husk mixed in water after five or
six days. She managed to go out of the house in April 1956,
but Romesh Chander and Suresh Chander, brothers of the
appellant, caught
256
hold of her and forcibly dragged her inside the house where
she was severely beaten. Thereafter, she was kept locked
inside a room.
On June 5, 1956, she happened to find her room unlocked, her
mother-in-law and husband away and, availing of the
opportunity, went out of the house and managed to reach the
Civil Hospital, Ludhiana, where she met lady Doctor Mrs.
Kumar, P. W. 2, and told her of her sufferings. The
appellant and his mother went to the hospital and tried
their best to take her back to the house, but were not
allowed to do so by the lady Doctor. Social workers got
interested in the matter and informed the brother of Bimla
Devi, one Madan Mohan, who came down to Ludhiana and, after
learning all facts, sent information to the Police Station
by letter on June 16, 1956. In his letter he said:
 "My sister Bimla Devi Sharma is lying in death
 bed. Her condition is very serious. I am
 told by her that deliberate attempt has been
 made by her husband, mother-in-law and
 brother-in-law and sister-in-law. I was also
 told that she was kept locked in a room for a
 long time and was beaten by all the above and
 was starved.
 I therefore request that a case may be
 registered and her statement be recorded,
 immediately."
 The same day, at 9-15 p.m., Dr. Miss Dalbir
 Dhillon sent a note to the police saying 'My
 patient Bimla Devi is actually ill. She may
 collapse any moment'.
 Shri Sehgal, Magistrate, P.W. 9, recorded her
 statement that night and stated in his note:
 "Blood transfusion is taking place through the
 right forearm and consequently the right hand
 of the patient is not free. It is not
 possible to get the thumb impression of the
 right hand thumb of the patient. That is why
 I have got her left hand thumb-impression."
The impression formed by the learned Judge of the High Court
on seeing the photographs taken of Bimla Devi a few days
later, is stated thus in the judgment:
 "The impression I formed on looking at the two
 257
 photographs of Bimla was that at that time she
 appeared to be suffering from extreme
 emaciation. Her cheeks appeared to be hollow.
 The projecting bones of her body with little
 flesh on them made her appearance skeletal.
 The countenance seemed' to be cadaverous."
After considering the evidence of Bimla Devi and the
Doctors, the learned Judge came to the conclusion:
 "So far as the basic allegations are
 concerned, which formed the gravamen of the
 offence, the veracity of her statement cannot
 be doubted. After a careful scrutiny of her
 statement, I find her allegations as to
 starvation, maltreatment, etc., true. The
 exaggerations and omissions to which my
 attention was drawn in her statement are
 inconsequential."
After considering the entire evidence on record, the learned
Judge said:
 "After having given anxious thought and
 careful consideration to the facts and
 circumstances as emerge from the lengthy
 evidence on the record, I cannot accept the
 argument of the learned counsel for the
 accused, that the condition of acute emacia-
 tion in which Bimla Devi was found on 5th of
 June, 1956, was not due to any calculated
 starvation but it was on account of prolonged
 illness, the nature of which was not known to
 the accused till Dr. Gulati had expressed his
 opinion that she was suffering from
 tuberculosis."
 He further stated:
 "The story of Bimla Devi as to how she was
 illtreated, and how, her end was attempted to
 be brought about or precipitated, is
 convincing, despite the novelty of the method
 in which the object was sought to be achieved.
 The conduct of the accused and of his mother
 on 5th of June, 1956, when soon after Bimla
 Devi's admission in the hospital they insisted
 on taking her back home, is significant and
 almost tell-tale. It was not for better
 treatment or for any treatment that they
 wanted to take her back home. Their real
 object in doing so could be no other than to
 accelerate her end."
258
The appellant was acquitted of the offence under s.342,
Indian Penal Code, by the Additional Sessions Judge, who
gave him the benefit of doubt, though he had come to the
conclusion that Bimla Devi's movements were restricted to a
certain extent. The learned Judge of the High Court
considered this question and came to a different conclusion.
Having come to these findings, the learned Judge considered
the question whether on these facts an offence under s. 307,
Indian Penal Code, had been established or not. He held it
proved.
Mr. Sethi, learned counsel for the appellant, has challenged
the correctness of this view in law. He concedes that it is
only when a person is helpless and is unable to look after
himself that the person having control over him is legally
bound to look after his requirements and to see that he is
adequately fed. Such persons, according to him, are
infants, old people and lunatics. He contends that it is no
part of a husband's duty to spoon-feed his wife,, his duty
being simply to provide funds and food. In view of the
finding of the Court below about Bimla Devi's being confined
and being deprived of regular food in pursuance of a scheme
of regularly starving her in order to accelerate her end,
the responsibility of the appellant for the condition to
which she was brought up to the 5th of June, 1956, is clear.
The findings really go against any suggestion that the
appellant had actually provided food and funds for his wife
Bimla Devi.
The next contention for the appellant is that the
ingredients of an offence under s. 307 are materially
different from the ingredients of an offence under s. 511,
Indian Penal Code. The difference is that for an act to
amount to the commission of the offence of attempting to
commit an offence, it need not be the last act and can be
the first act towards the commission of the offence, while
for an offence under s. 307, it is the last act which, if
effective to cause death, would constitute the offence of an
attempt to commit murder. The contention really is that
even if Bimla Devi had been deprived of food for a certain
period, the act of so depriving her does not come under s.
307,
 250
as that act could not, by itself, have caused her death, it
being necessary for the period of starvation to continue for
a longer period to cause death. We do not agree with this
contention.
 Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code reads:
 "Whoever does any act with such intention or
 knowledge, and under such circumstances that,
 if he by that act caused death, he would be
 guilty of murder, shall be punished with
 imprisonment of either description for a term
 which may extend to ten years, and shall also
 be liable to fine; and, if hurt is caused to
 any person by such act, the offender shall be
 liable either to imprisonment for life, or to
 such punishment as is hereinbefore mentioned.
 When any person offending under this section
 is under sentence of imprisonment for life, he
 may, if hurt is caused, be punished with
 death."
 Section 308 reads:
 "Whoever does any act with such intention or
 knowledge and under such circumstances that,
 if he by that act caused death, he would be
 guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to
 murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of
 either description for a term which may extend
 to three years, or with fine, or with both;
 and, if hurt is caused to any person by such
 act, shall be punished with imprisonment of
 either description for a term which may extend
 to seven years, or with fine, or with both."
Both the sections are expressed in similar language. If s.
307 is to be interpreted as urged for the appellant, s. 308
too should be interpreted that way. What-' ever may be said
with respect to s. 307, being exhaustive or covering all the
cases of attempts to commit murder and s. 511 not applying
to any case of attempt to commit murder on account of its
being applicable only to offences punishable with
imprisonment for life or imprisonment, the same cannot be
said with respect to the offence of attempt to commit
culpable homicide punishable under s. 308. An attempt to
commit culpable homicide is punishable with imprisonment for
a certain period and therefore but for its being expressly
made an offence under s. 308, it would have
260
fallen under s. 511 which applies to all attempts to commit
offences punishable with imprisonment where no express
provisions are made by the Code for the punishment of that
attempt. It should follow that the ingredients of an
offence of attempt to commit culpable homicide not amounting
to murder should be the same as the ingredients of an
offence of attempt to commit that offence under s. 511. We
have held this day in Abhayanand Mishra v. The State of
Bihar (1) that a person commits the offence of attempting to
commit a particular offence, when he intends to commit that
particular offence and, having made preparations and with
the intention to commit that offence does an act towards its
commission and that such an act need not be the penultimate
act towards the commission of that offence, but must be an
act during the course of committing such offence. It
follows therefore that a person commits an offence under s.
308 when he has an intention to commit culpable homicide not
amounting to murder and in pursuance of that intention does
an act towards the commission of that offence whether that
act be the penultimate act or not. On a parity of
reasoning, a person commits an offence under s. 307 when he
has an intention to commit murder and, in pursuance of that
intention, does an act towards its commission irrespective
of the fact whether that act is the penultimate act or not.
It is to be clearly understood, however, that the intention
to commit the offence of murder means that the person
concerned has the intention to do certain act with the
necessary intention or knowledge mentioned in s. 300. The
intention to commit an offence is different from the
intention or knowledge requisite for constituting the act as
that offence. The expression 'whoever attempts to commit an
offence' in s. 511, can only mean 'whoever intends to do a
certain act with the intent or knowledge necessary for the
commission of that offence'. The same is meant by the
expression 'whoever does an act with such intention or
knowledge and under such circumstances that if he, by that
act, caused death, he would be guilty of murder' in s. 307.
This simply means that the act must be done with the
(1) [1962] 2 S.C.R. 241.
 261
intent or knowledge requisite for the commission of the
offence of murder. The expression by that act' does not
mean that the immediate effect of the act committed must be
death. Such a result must be the result of that act whether
immediately or after a lapse of time.
The word 'act' again, does not mean only any particular,
specific, instantaneous act of a person, but denotes,
according to s. 33 of the Code, as well, a series of acts.
The course of conduct adopted by the appellant in regularly
starving Bimla Devi comprised a series of acts and therefore
acts falling short of completing the series, and would
therefore come within the purview of s. 307 of the Code.
Learned counsel for the appellant has referred us to certain
cases in this connection. We now discuss them.
The first is Queen Empress v. Nidha (1). Nidha, who had
been absconding, noticing certain chowkidars arrive, brought
up a sort of a blunderbuss he was carrying, to the hip and
pulled the trigger. The cap exploded, but the charge did
not go off. He was convicted by the Sessions Judge under
ss. 299 and 300 read with s. 511, and not under s. 307,
Indian Penal Code, as the learned Judge relied on a Bombay
Case Regina v. Francis Cassidy (1)-in which it was held that
in order to constitute the offence of attempt to murder,
under s. 307, the act committed by the person must be an act
capable of causing, in the natural and ordinary course of
events, death. Straight, J., both distinguished that case
and did not agree with certain views expressed therein. He
expressed his view thus, at p. 43:
 "It seems to me that if a person who has an
 evil intent does an act which. is the last
 possible act that he could do towards the
 accomplishment of a particular crime that he
 has in his mind, he is not entitled to pray in
 his aid an obstacle intervening not known to
 himself. If he did all that he could
 (1) (1892) I.L.R. 14 All. 38.
 (2) (1867) Bom. H.C. Reps. Vol. IV, P. 17
 (Crown Cases).
 34
 262
 do and completed the only remaining proximate
 act in his power, I do not think he can escape
 criminal responsibility, and this because his
 own set volition and purpose having been given
 effect to their full extent, a fact unknown to
 him and at variance with his own belief,
 intervened to prevent the consequences of that
 act which he expected to ensue, ensuing."
Straight, J., gave an example earlier which itself does not
seem to fit in with the view expressed by him later. He
said:
 "No one would suggest that if A intending to
 fire the stack of B, goes into a grocery shop
 and buys a box of matches, that he has
 committed the offence of attempting to fire
 the stack of B. But if he, having that intent,
 and having bought the box of matches, goes to
 the stack of B and lights the match, but it is
 put out by a puff of wind, and he is so
 prevented and interfered with, that would
 establish in my opinion an attempt."
The last act, for the person to set fire to the stack, would
have been his applying a lighted match to the stack.
Without, doing this act, he could not have set fire and,
before he could do this act, the lighted match is supposed
to have been put out by a puff of wind.
Illustration (d) to s. 307, itself shows the incorrectness
of this view. The illustration is:
 "A, intending to murder Z, by poison,
 purchases poison and mixes the same with food
 which remains in A's keeping; A has not yet
 committed the offence in this section. A
 places the food on Z's table or delivers it to
 Z's servants to place it on Z's table. A has
 committed the offence defined in this
 section."
 A's last act, contemplated in this
 illustration, is not an act which must result
 in the murder of Z. The food is to be taken by
 Z. It is to be served to him. It may not have
 been possible for A to serve the food himself
 to Z, but the fact remains that A's act in
 merely delivering the food to the servant is
 fairly remote to the food being served and
 being taken by Z.
 263
 This expression of opinion by Straight, J.,
 was not really with reference to the offence
 under s. 307, but was with reference to
 attempts to commit any particular offence and
 was stated, not to emphasize the necessity of
 committing the last act for the commission of
 the offence, but in connection with the
 culprit taking advantage of an involuntary act
 thwarting the completion of his design by
 making it impossible for the offence being
 committed. Straight, J., himself said
 earlier:
 "For the purpose of constituting an attempt
 under s. 307, Indian Penal Code, there are two
 ingredients required, first, an evil intent or
 knowledge, and secondly, an act done."
In Emperor v. Vasudeo Balwant Gogte (1) a person fired
several shots at another. No injury was in fact occasioned
due to certain obstruction. The culprit was convicted of an
offence under s. 307. Beaumont, C. J.,said at p. 438:
 "I think that what section 307 really means is
 that the accused must do an act with such a
 guilty intention and knowledge and in such
 circumstances that but for some intervening
 fact the act would have amounted to murder in
 the normal course of events".
This is correct. In the present case, the intervening fact
which thwarted the attempt of the appellant to commit the
murder of Bimla Devi was her happening to escape from the
house and succeeding in reaching the hospital and thereafter
securing good medical treatment.
It may, however, be mentioned that in cases of attempt to
commit murder by fire arm, the act amounting to an attempt
to commit murder is bound to be the only and the last act to
be done by the culprit. Till he fires, he does not do any
act towards the commission of the offence and once he fires,
and something happens to prevent the shot taking effect, the
offence under s. 307 is made out. Expressions, in such
cases, indicate that one commits an attempt to murder only
when one has committed the last act
(1) (1932) I.L.R. 56 Bom 434.
264
necessary to commit murder. Such expressions, however, are
not to be taken as precise exposition of the law, though the
statements in the context of the cases are correct.
In Mi Pu v. Emperor (1) a person who had put poison in the
food was convicted of an offence under s. 328 read with s.
511, Indian Penal Code, because there was no evidence about
the quantity of poison found and the probable effects of the
quantity mixed in the food. It was therefore held that the
accused cannot be said to have intended to cause more than
hurt. The case is therefore of no bearing on the question
under determination.
In Jeetmal v. State (2) it was held that an act under s.
307, must be one which, by itself, must be ordinarily
capable of causing death in the natural ordinary course of
events. This is what was actually held in Cassidy's Case
(3) and was not approved in Niddha's Case (4) or in Gogte's
Case (4).
We may now refer to Rex v. White (6). In that case, the
accused, who was indicted for the murder of his mother, was
convicted of attempt to murder her. It was held that the
accused had put two grains of cyanide of potassium in the
wine glass with the intent to murder her. It was, however,
argued that there was no attempt at murder because 'the act
of which he was guilty, namely, the putting the poison in
the wine glass, war, a completed act and could not be and
was not intended by the appellant to have the effect of
killing her at once; it could not kill unless it were
followed by other acts which he might never have done'.
This contention was repelled and it was said:
 "There seems no doubt that the learned judge
 in effect did tell the jury that if this was a
 case of slow poisoning the appellant would be
 guilty of the attempt to murder. We are of
 opinion that this direction was right, and
 that the completion or attempted completion of
 one of a series of acts intended by a man to
 result in killing is an attempt
 (1) (1909) 10 Crl. L.J. 363. (2) A.I.R. 1950
 Madhya Bharat 21.
 (3) (1867) Bom. H. C. Reps. Vol. IV, p.
 17 (Crown Cases).
 (4) (1892) I.L.R. 14 All. 48. (5) (1032) I.L.
 R. 56 Bom. 434.
 (6) (1910) 2 K. B. 124.
 265
 to murder even although this completed act
 would not, unless followed by the other acts,
 result in killing. It might be the beginning
 of the attempt, but would nonetheless be an
 attempt".
 This supports our view.
We therefore hold that the conviction of the appellant under
s. 307, Indian Penal Code, is correct and accordingly
dismiss this appeal.
Appeal dismissed.

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