Correct description of weapon is of utmost importance, indicative of intention, says HC

Holding that the correct description of a weapon is of utmost importance in injury cases, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Ambala additional district and sessions judge to apprise a presiding officer about the difference between ‘inch’ and a ‘centimetre’ and between ‘diameter’ and ‘circumference’.

The Bench of Justice Gurvinder Singh Gill made the directions while hearing a petition filed by a Haryana resident. The petitioner’s daughter had been attacked and the judicial magistrate of Ambala ordered the accused to be charged under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 325 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt) and 452 (house-trespass after preparation for hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) read with Section 34 of the IPC. However, the petitioner claimed that charges for offence under Section 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of IPC should have been framed as well.

The prosecution said that the petitioner’s daughter was attacked by the accused with a ‘sariya’ (iron rod) and thus the accused should have been charged under Section 326 of IPC as well. While the HC said that the instant petition, being sans merit, deserves to be dismissed it also said that the trial Court, has either not responsibly cared to comply with the directions of the HC or is not aware of the difference between ‘centimetres’ and ‘inches’.

In an order on February 11, 2022, Justice Gill said that there was some ambiguity in the description of the weapon of offence and had directed the trial court to examine the weapon and furnish the details of its dimensions to the HC.

The presiding officer, in its reply, sent four photographs, indicative of the ‘diameter’. In one of the photographs, the diameter at one end of the iron rod which seems to be slightly flattened is seen to be about one inch as per the measuring tape which is also seen placed on the flattened end of the rod. However, the officer mentioned the diameter at the hand to be more than three times the actual diameter, the HC stated.

While saying there were discrepancies in the measurements of the weapon, the Bench said that it indicates that the presiding officer did not bother to apply their mind while taking measurements or do not know the difference between an ‘inch’ and a ‘centimetre’ and ‘diameter’ and ‘circumference.’

“The correct description of a weapon is of utmost importance in injury cases as the nature of the weapon used by the accused, apart from other circumstances, reveals his intentions i.e. as to whether the intention was just to inflict injury or was to make an attempt to commit culpable homicide or murder. While a sariya may be sufficient just to cause injuries, a person can be bludgeoned to death with a 3 inches thick heavy rod. The measurements are not required to be accurate to a millimetre or a fraction of a millimetre but should be good enough to give a fair idea to the court and should not be misleading. The circumference of a round object like an iron rod or stick can be ascertained by wrapping a flexible measuring tape around it”, Justice Gill added.

The HC thus held, “learned ADJ-I, Ambala is requested to call the Presiding Officer concerned whenever convenient during the next week and to apprise her about the difference between ‘inch’ and a ‘centimetre’ and also about the difference between ‘diameter’ and ‘circumference’. The weapon of the offence shall be measured by ADJ-I in the presence of the presiding officer concerned and measurements so recorded shall be made a part of the court file.”
The matter is now scheduled for hearing on September 30.

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