K.M. NANAVATI V. STATE OF MAHARASHTRA

FACTS OF THE CASE

  • K. M. Nanavati, the accused/appellant, was the second in command of the Indian naval cruiser “Mysore.” He was married to Sylvia and they had three children together. Nanavati and his family had resided in a variety of locations due to the nature of his job before settling in Bombay. They met the dead Prem Ahuja for the first time through shared friends in Bombay.
  • Nanavati’s service required him to leave Bombay on a frequent basis, leaving his wife and children behind. In his absence, Sylvia and Ahuja built a friendship that eventually turned into an illicit relationship.
  • Nanavati returned from his ship after April 18, 1959, and tried to be affectionate to his wife on several occasions, but she was unresponsive. On April 27, 1959, his advances were once again met with her indifference. Nanavati, on the other hand, questioned his wife if she had been true to him this time. She simply shook her head, indicating that she wasn’t interested. He assumed Ahuja was her lover and decided to settle the situation with him.
  • Nanavati first took his children and wife to the movies, promising to pick them up later. On a fake pretext, he drove to his ship and obtained a pistol and six bullets. He placed things in a brown envelope and drove to Ahuja’s office from there. Nanavati drove to his place after not finding him there.
  • When he arrived to Ahuja’s flat, a servant confirmed his presence. He walked to Ahuja’s room after obtaining the confirmation, carrying the brown packet containing the revolver.
  • Nanavati locked the door to his chamber and inquired of Ahuja about his plans for his wife and children. When he did not receive the honourable and desired response, he is said to have shot Ahuja, killing him. Nanavati then proceeded to the nearest police station to confess to his crime.
  • Nanavati was found not guilty by an 8:1 jury verdict. The Sessions Judge, on the other hand, disagreed with the jury’s decision, believing that no reasonable group of men could make that conclusion based on the facts presented. A Division Bench heard the case and found the accused/appellant guilty.
  • As a result, a special leave petition was filed with the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

ISSUES INVOLVED

  1. Under section 307 of CrPC, the High Court has no jurisdiction to go through the evidence to decide the competency of the reference made by the Sessions Judge;
  2. Under section 307(3) of CrPC, the High Court has no power to set aside the verdict of the jury on grounds of misdirection in charge;
  3. The charge contains no misinformation;
  4. The verdict given by the jury was such that it could be reached by a body of reasonable men based on evidence produced before them;
  5. The accused/appellant had shot the deceased under grave and sudden provocation, and therefore, he did not commit murder but culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

JUDGMENT

The Supreme Court upheld that this was a clear case of premeditated murder and concurred with the decision of the High Court and sentenced him to life imprisonment for culpable homicide amounting to murder.

REFERENCES

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