Case Summary : A. Maharaja vs State of Tamil Nadu

Author : Darshi Sanghvi


         SLP (Crl.) No. 2270 of 2008


         Arijit Pasayat, Mukundakam Sharma


Murder is regarded as one of the most serious crimes in our society, which undoubtedly demands harsh punishments. Section 300 of the IPC speaks of murder and rightly states situations in which if a murder is committed, it will be treated as “culpable homicide not amounting to murder”, for instance Exception 4- “sudden fight”. The present case of A. Maharaja vs State of Tamil Nadu aptly discusses the grounds for the determination of Exception 4 of IPC Section 300.


The deceased Alagu Ambalam had two sons- the accused and PW-4. PW-1 is PW-4’s wife and PW-2 is her son. Alagu Ambalam partitioned his immovable properties 10 years prior to the occurrence and regained a poramboke for his livelihood. The accused used to insist him to give away that land too, which also resulted in a civil dispute between them and ended up in the favour of Alagu. On the day of the occurrence, PW-1 was off to the garden to pluck vegetables when Alagu was cutting Karuvela trees. The accused emerged out of nowhere and started questioning him as to how he could cut the trees. This was followed by a wordy duel as a result of which, the accused snatched the aruval from Alagu’s hand and struck it on his neck and shoulder. On seeing this, PW-1 instantly raised an alarm and the accused disappeared from the place of occurrence. Alagu died instantaneously. PW-1 gave a report to the sub-inspector of police (PW-11), on the basis of which a case got registered under Sec. 302 of IPC. Upon the receipt of the FIR, the Inspector of Police (PW-12) carried out an investigation, prepared an observation mahazar, a rough sketch, an inquest report and then sent the dead body for autopsy which showed 7 cut injuries and claimed the death to be as a result of haemorrhage and shock. The accused who was arrested pending the investigation, agreed to give a confessional statement and was sent for judicial remand. All material objects from the place of occurrence were sent for chemical analysis and resulted in two reports. Eventually, the Investigator filed the final report according to which charges were framed. The accused then pleaded innocence which was denied by the Trial Court, which relied on the evidence of eyewitnesses PW-1 and PW-2.


Whether the Exception 4 of IPC is applicable in the present case.

Whether the quarrel can be considered to be ‘sudden’ in light of the aforementioned facts.

Whether the offender has taken undue advantage or has acted in a cruel or unusual manner.


It can be held that the occurrence took place in course of a sudden quarrel. Hence, Exception 4 to Section 300 of IPC applies.

The apt. conviction can be said to be under Section 304-Part I of the Indian Penal Code.

In order to meet the ends of justice, a custodial sentence of 10 years would be necessary.