The case of K.M.Nanavati is one of the landmark judgments in the history of the Indian judiciary.

It was the last matter in which last JURY SYSTEM TRIAL in India took place and there was lot of interference of media.

Wherever matter is of grave and sudden provocation then it is person centric, the personality of person depends on many factors which class, which society, educational standard. So, mental condition of every person is different, court must consider all.

Provocation is some act, or series of acts done (or word spoken) by the dead man to the accused, which would cause in any reasonable person, and causes in the accused, a sudden and temporary loss of self-control, rendering the accused so subject to passion as to make him or her for the moment not master of his or her mind.    

ACCORDING TO INDIAN PENAL CODE ,1860 SECTION300.MURDER- Except in the cases hereinafter excepted, culpable homicide is murder, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or

Secondly- If it is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused, or

Thirdly-If it is done with the intention of causing bodily injury to any person and the bodily injury intended to be inflicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, or

Fourthly-If the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability, cause death, or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk or causing death, or such injury as aforesaid.

Exception1. Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, whilst deprived of the power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation or causes the death of any person by mistake or accident.

Example- Two persons where fighting, one child came in between and by accident he dies. Benefit shall be given.

The above exception is subject to the following provisos-

First- That the provocation is not sought or voluntarily provoked by the offender as an excuse for killing or causing harm.

(If intentionally caused death, then no benefit shall be conferred.)

Second- That the provocation is not given by anything done in obedience to the law, or by a public servant in the lawful exercise of the powers of such public servant. 

Thirdly- That the Provocation cannot be given by anything in which is done in lawful exercise in right of private defences.

The facts of the case>present the common place problem of an alleged murder by an enraged husband of a paramour of his wife, but it aroused considerable interest in the public by reason of the publicity it received.

> The accused, a naval officer, was charged with the Murder of Prem Ahuja, a businessman of Bombay, for having illicit intimacy with his wife, Sylvie.

> On coming to known from his wife about the illicit relationship with the deceased, he went to the ship, took from the stores a semi-automatic revolver and six cartridges on a false pretext, loaded the same, went to the flat of Ahuja, entered in his bedroom and shot him dead after a heated exchange of words.

 •While rejecting the plea of grave and sudden provocation advanced by the accused, the court held that for the application of Exception 1 to section 300, IPC,  It is essential that the act Which caused death should have been done during the continuance of the state of mind to temporary loss of self-control caused by the provocation,  and before there was time for passion to cool and for reason to regain domain  over the mind. 

No doubt accused momentarily lost self-control when his wife confessed to him her illicit intimacy with the disease, he subsequent conduct clearly indicated that he had not only regained his self-control but was capable of planning future action. He drove his wife and children to a cinema, left them there, went to his ship, took a revolver on a false pretext, loaded it with cartridges, did some official work, went to the office of the victim and, not finding him there, went to his flat and straight into his bedroom where he shot him dead.

 The time lapse between his leaving his house and the time of the murder was the three hours. This was sufficient time for passion to cool down and for self-control to be regained, even if he had not regained it earlier, I.e., during the time lapse between his wife, confession and putting his plan of action against the disease into effect. 

K.M.Nanavati , the accused, initially was declared not guilty under section 302 by the Jury with an 8:1 verdict. The case was then referred by the session judge to the Honourable High Court of Bombay Under Section 307 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973.

 the Honourable High Court declared the accused guilty under section 3O2 of IPC.

 An appeal was finally made to the honourable Supreme Court. 

The Honourable Supreme Court in K.M.Nanavati versus state of Maharashtra has extensively discussed the law relating to provocation in India and observed that-

– the test of” grave and sudden provocation” is whether a reasonable man, belonging to the same class of society as the accused was placed, would be so provoked as to lose self-control;

– IN India, Words and gesture may also under certain circumstances cause grave and sudden provocation to an accused to bring his act within the first exception to the Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, and 

-the fatal blow should be clearly traced to the influence of passion arising from the provocation, and not after the passion has cooled down by lapse of time or otherwise giving the accused room and scope for premeditation and calculation.

The court further said> what a reasonable man will do in certain circumstances depend upon the customs, manners, way of life, traditional values, etc. In short, the culture, social and emotional background of the society to which an accused belongs.

•Conclusion- In K.M.Nanavati case grave and sudden provocation was discussed in detail; 3 hours’ time had passed in which person could have cooled down. So, it was considered that link between provocation. Nanavati was given punishment and later he was granted pardon. We must respect the court’s decision in the light of the facts and circumstance of the current Case. Penel rules are strictly interpreted, and the Nanavati case demonstrates the strict interpretation of the penal statute. The court’s decision was based not on the man’s honour or standing in society, but on the nature of the offences he committed.



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