March 4, 2024
symbolizing justice and order

Certain cases stand out in the archives of Indian legal precedents not only for their effects on the law but also for the social effect that they have. The Basdev v. State of PEPSU case represents one of the most essential of these. This significant case raised important questions about freedom as an individual, equality before the law, and the basic principles of natural justice during the early years adhering to India’s independence.

basdev vs state of pepsu Case Summary

Basdev vs State of Pepsu Case Facts:

  • Thebasdev vs state of pepsu citation is Air 1956 SC 488.
  • Basdev, the appellant, is a retired military Jamadar from the village of Harigarh. He is accused of killing Maghar Singh, a young child who was between the ages of 15 and 16. They went to another village to attend a wedding, along with other residents of the same village.
  • On March 12, 1954, they all went to the bride’s home for lunch. While some had taken a seat, others had not.
  • The appellant requested that Maghar Singh, the young child, take a small step to make room for him to take a comfortable seat. However, Maghar Singh stayed still. With a quick draw of his pistol, the appellant shot the boy in the abdomen. The wound turned out to be lethal.
  • It appears that a large amount of alcohol was consumed by the group of people who had gathered at the bride’s house to celebrate the marriage. Jamadar, the appellant, drank a lot of alcohol and got very inebriated.
  • The learned Sessions Judge stated that “he was nearly unconscious according to one witness Wazir Singh Lambardar’s testimony” and that “he was excessively drunk.”
  • Taking into consideration these circumstances as well as the complete lack of any motive or premeditation to kill, the Sessions Judge granted the appellant the lesser punishment of life in prison.
  • An appeal to the Patiala Pepsu High Court was not successful.

Basdev vs State of Pepsu Case Issues:

  • If the appellant is accused of murder or culpable homicide?
  • If there was murder or culpable homicide in the instant case?

Contentions Raised by the Appellant:

  • In this case, the appellant should assert their defense of intoxication, since it was due to their extreme inebriation that prevented them from having any intention of killing the boy.
  • The appellant was so consumed with alcohol that they were unable to comprehend the repercussions of shooting a boy, even though they did not have the necessary intent to kill him.
  • Therefore, the IPC should recognize the appellant’s defense of intoxication, and the murder charge should be dropped in favour of culpable homicide that does not qualify as murder.

Contentions Raised by the Respondent:

  • The appellant willingly drank alcohol, which led to his inebriation.
  • After that, he wasn’t so drunk that he couldn’t comprehend the significance of the act of pulling a pistol and shooting a boy.
  • The appellant should not be allowed to use the defense of intoxication; instead, he should be prosecuted for murder rather than culpable homicide which does not qualify as murder.

basdev vs state of pepsu judgment:

  • The judgment for this case was given on 17th April 1956.
  • The judge bench was headed by Justice N.H. Bhagwati and Justice Chandrasekhara Aiyar.
  • The Supreme Court established the following guidelines for guidance, despite dismissing the accused’s plea to grant him the benefit of Section 86 and lower the charge from murder to culpable homicide not amounting to murder:
  • Lack of comprehension of the nature and ramifications of an act, whether caused by intoxication or not, does not serve as a defense against the alleged crime.
  • To ascertain whether or not the accused had the specific intent required to constitute the crime, the evidence of intoxication, which prevents the accused from forming that intent, should be taken into account along with other established facts.
  • The evidence of intoxication is insufficient to demonstrate the lack of capacity for rational decision-making, and proving only that alcohol had an impact on his thoughts and caused him to act violently out of passion does not disprove the assumption that a man intends the consequences of his actions.

The Basdev v State of PEPSU case provides proof of the human spirit’s determination in the face of challenges. It acts as a reminder that, in spite of its elusive nature, fairness can be attained by determination, bravery, and an unwavering dedication to the principles of fairness and equality. Let us recommit to the pursuit of a more equal and inclusive society, where every person is treated with dignity and respect, irrespective of their caste, creed, or socioeconomic status, as we consider the lessons discovered from the Basdev case.

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