This article has been written by Yash Mittal, pursuing LLB-1 year from Mewar Law institute.
Court – Madhya Pradesh High Court
Case title – Gyarsibai W/O Jagannath vs The State
Decided on – 23 October 1952
Equivalent citations – 1953 CriLJ 588
Bench: Dixit, Chaturvedi
Facts of the case
The appellant (Gyarsibai), her husband, her children, and her sister-in-law Kaiserbai lived together in the same house. Kaiserbai and Gyarsibai were not on good terms, they were in constant quarrels and often had verbal arguments between them.
Her husband Jagannath used to beat her and use violence against her. One such argument happened on 14/9/1951 in the morning when her husband Jagannath was not present at home. Gyarsibai left the house along with her three children aged 7 years, 5 years, and 1.5 years when Kaiser bai asked the appellant to move out of the house. After that, she jumped into a well along with her three children. After some time people around the village found Gyarsibai and her three children. Gyarsibai survived but her children died.
Issues before the court
Whether the appellant is guilty of the offense of murder of the three children and attempted the offense of Suicide.
The following case is discussed under section 300(4). Section 300 of the IPC defines murder and states 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.
And Section 300(4) states that- 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 of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.
In Emperor VS Dhirjia, a village woman was ill-treated by her husband, so she left the house with her six months old baby. When her husband woke up he found that his wife and baby were missing. He went out in search of them. But, when she heard of him coming after her she became worried and jumped into a well with the baby in her arms.
The little child died while the woman was eventually rescued and had little or no injury.
Dhirjia was charged with the murder of her baby and with an attempt to commit suicide, by the session judges.
The act of the appellant falls under section 300(4), Indian penal code defines murder.
The question, therefore, when the appellant jumped into the well together with her three children, she knew that her act was so imminently dangerous, as to cause in all probability the death of her children and further if she had such knowledge; her act of jumping into a well with her children was “without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such bodily injury as it is mentioned in clause 4 of Section 300, Penal Code.
She left the house on the day of the occurrence saying that she would jump into well with her children, it cannot be said that she was in such an abnormal state of mind that could not have any knowledge of the nature of her act. The court observed that, there was no material, whatsoever, to conclude that the appellant could not have escaped the harassment at the hands of her sister-in-law except by jumping herself into a well with her three children.
The appellant was sentenced to transportation for life under Section 302, Penal Code.
The Hon’ble SC concluded that the appellant was rightly prosecuted under section 300(4), as she was not a person of unsound mind, she could think and also know the outcomes of her actions. Jumping into a well was not the only option left with her. So there was no justification for her actions, so, it is appropriate to prosecute her under section 300(4).
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