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Meghalaya High Court Reduces Murder Conviction to Culpable Homicide in Case of Sudden Provocation

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HT Digital,

Shillong, May 29: In a significant legal development, the Meghalaya High Court has modified the murder conviction of a man accused of killing his wife’s ex-husband after discovering them in a compromising position. The Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice S. Vaidyanathan and Justice W. Diengdoh, determined that the act was not premeditated but a reaction to “safeguard his right over his wife,” triggered by sudden provocation upon witnessing the betrayal of their marital relationship.

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The Court underscored the sanctity of marriage, describing how betrayal within such a sacred union can provoke intense emotional reactions. The judges likened a marital relationship to a bicycle, stating that if one spouse fails in their role, the entire family structure becomes dysfunctional.

Despite the wife’s claim that her ex-husband had pointed a pistol at her first, the Court identified inconsistencies in her statements. The Court ruled that the husband’s actions fell under Exception 2 of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which addresses cases of grave and sudden provocation. Consequently, the conviction was reduced from murder to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, resulting in a sentence of three years rigorous imprisonment.

The judgment referenced both the Ramayana and a recent Supreme Court ruling to emphasize the profound importance of marriage in Indian society. This case highlights the judiciary’s nuanced approach to understanding human emotions and relationships within the legal framework.

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