SC upholds soldier's life term for killing superior

SC upholds soldier's  life term for killing superior

The Supreme Court has refused to buy an Army jawan’s argument that he shot dead his senior officer under sudden provocation after being angry over a bid to sodomise him.

B D Khunte, posted at Baramullah in Jammu and Kashmir, killed his post commander Randhir Singh on June 28, 2006. He was held guilty of murder and sentenced to life term. The Delhi High Court upheld the conviction and sentence.

In his appeal before the apex court, the soldier contended that he was entitled for exception of Section 300 (murder) of the penal code as the offence took place due to sudden provocation. The murder should be treated as culpable homicide not amounting to murder, he pleaded. On the fateful day, the soldier said the officer called him to the store room around 2:30 pm and asked him to remove his clothes.

Even though he declined, the officer started making improper advances like kissing his cheeks and stomach. The officer punched and kicked him after the soldier refused to cooperate.

Somehow, the jawan managed to free himself and went back to his barrack. He informed senior officers about the incident. The officers, however, asked him to remain calm and did nothing else.

Around 9 pm, when he was performing night picket guard duty, the officer again approached him. The jawan, still seething with anger, opened fire at him, leading to his instant death.

He claimed he was so deeply shaken by the incident that he lost self-control. Even the interval of time could not help in maintaining his equilibrium. He said that his act of firing must be taken in context of preceding circumstances.

The apex court’s bench of Justices T S Thakur, Adarsh Kumar Goel and R Banumathi, however, did not agree to his defence. The court said the seven-hour gap between the two incidents was sufficient for the jawan to cool down, though the act of the superior to force his lustful design on an able-bodied subordinate was cause for retaliation.

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