FACTS-The present case was initiated following a statement provided by the complainant, Ramji Rai, sibling of the deceased, to the police on April 17, 2006. According to the statement, Ramji Rai and his younger brother, Vajra Rai, were present at dairy No.48 on Tajpur Road, Ludhiana, when an altercation ensued between Vajra Rai and the accused, Harey Ram, at dairy No.48-A. Despite attempts by Ramji Rai and Raju Kumar to intervene, the accused persisted and struck Vajra Rai on the forehead with a brick. Vajra Rai succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The motive behind the incident was purportedly a dispute over work responsibilities, as both the deceased and the accused were employed at the same dairy.

Upon submission of the police report, copies of documents mandated by Section 207 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.) were provided to the accused, and the case was transferred to the Sessions Court for trial. On September 11, 2006, the accused was formally charged under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), to which he entered a plea of not guilty and opted for trial. Following a thorough examination of all evidence presented by the prosecution, the learned Sessions Judge found the appellant culpable of an offense punishable under Section 302 IPC.

The appellant lodged an appeal challenging the verdict of guilt under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

ISSUE- Does engaging in a spontaneous altercation lead to a reduction in sentence?

OBSERVATION-TThe appellant's counsel argues that while not contesting the conviction itself, they're solely seeking to downgrade the conviction from Section 302 IPC to either 304 Part-I or II IPC. Additionally, they highlight that the appellant has already served a sentence of 16 years, 07 months, and 25 days, and is not involved in any other criminal cases. No adverse conduct has been found against the appellant.

The State counsel, however, contends that given the severity of the allegations against the appellant, including causing injuries to the deceased's head, no leniency should be granted. They oppose any conversion from Section 302 to 304 Part-I IPC and assert that the trial court's sentencing should remain unchanged.

This Court is conscious of the fact that the incident occurred in the year 2006 when a sudden fight took place between the accused and deceased, there was no premeditation and the offence was committed in the spur of the moment. The appellant was unarmed and the injury was caused by a brick blow. This Court is of the view that conviction of the appellant would not fall under Section 302 IPC but fall under Section 304 Part-I IPC. The appellant has been facing protracted criminal proceedings for about 14 years, not granted the benefit of suspension of sentence and has undergone an actual sentence of over 16 years. There is nothing to indicate that he is involved in any other criminal case and after the incident, there is nothing adverse against his conduct. The ends of justice would meet, if the sentence of the appellant would be reduced to the period already undergone by him. Consequently, the appeal is partly allowed. We direct that the sentence of 16 years undergone by the appellant would be adequate for the offence under Part-I of Section 304 IPC.