The Karnataka High Court declined to show leniency to a jilted lover who mounted a “grave and sudden provocation” defence. The accused had stabbed a girl to death soon after she turned down his marriage proposal. The court opined that agreeing to this claim will have the “effect of robbing the victim of her right to express her choice”.
“In other words, the defence of ‘grave and sudden provocation’ shall not avail an accused if the result of permitting such a defence is to dehumanise the person of the victim, stultify her individual autonomy, agency and dignity,” the court noted.
Accused tried to assert his domain over the victim: Karnataka High Court
A division bench headed by Justices S Sunil Dutt Yadav and P Krishna Bhat termed the accused’s defence as absurd and alleged that the accused was attempting to assert some kind of domain over the victim only because he was male and was unable to come to terms to the fact that a woman could spurn him and take a decision on the choice of her life partner.
The bench observed that life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is an entitlement and a right without which there cannot be a ‘right to life’ for an individual and shorn of the same, it will only be a creature in existence. The court noted that it is completely absurd to contend that there was ‘grave and sudden provocation’ from the victim’s side, when, all she was doing is asserting her individual autonomy which was completely legitimate for her to do.
The High Court affirmed the decision of the sessions court and upheld the conviction, stating that there was not an iota of doubt about the dying declaration and Pushpa had, of her own volition and in a proper state of mind, given her statement against the accused. The bench cited the evidence—the testimony of the victim—who narrated the incident to her parents and who have also supported the prosecution case.
Accused Vijendra stabs Pushpa for refusing to marry him
The accused Vijendra, who hailed from Javalaga village in Aland of Kalaburagi district, had filed an appeal in the Karnataka High Court to set aside the conviction and sentence passed by the IV Additional District and Sessions Judge, Kalaburagi, on January 23, 2016. The sessions court had held Vijendra guilty and sentenced him to life imprisonment.
Vijendra, kin of Pushpa (18), was forcing her to marry him and when she turned down his marriage proposal, he resorted to using abusive tactics. On April 27, 2009, when Pushpa’s parents were away, Vijendra entered her house carrying a sharp-edged weapon and threatened Pushpa into agreeing to marry him. When she still refused to marry him, he stabbed her multiple times. She succumbed to the stab injuries at a hospital a few days later.