2011 S C M R 1165
[Supreme Court of Pakistan]
Present: Tariq Parvez, Mian Saqib Nisar and Asif Saeed Khan Khosa, JJ
IFTIKHAR MEHMOOD and another—Appellants
QAISER IFTIKHAR and others—Respondents
Criminal Appeals Nos. 160 and 161 of 2002, decided on 3rd May, 2011.
(On appeal from the judgment dated 18-9-2001 of the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench, Rawalpindi passed in Criminal Appeals Nos.223-T and 249-T of 2000).
(a) Penal Code (XLV of 1860)—
—-S. 302(b)—Constitution of Pakistan, Art. 185 (3)—Leave to appeal was granted by Supreme Court to consider; whether lesser sentence of life imprisonment awarded by High Court on the ground that prosecution failed to prove the motive was not contrary to law laid down by Supreme Court.
Moazam Shah v. Mohsin Shah and others PLD 2001 SC 458 rel.
(b) Penal Code (XLV of 1860)—
—-S. 302(b)—Motive—Scope—Quantum of sentence—Motive is not sine qua non for the proof of commission of crime and at time motive is not known to any other person, other than the deceased or accused, which can never surfaced on the record—Motive is always very relevant to determine quantum of sentence that might be awarded to a person against whom charge of murder is proved.
(c) Penal Code (XLV of 1860)—
—-S. 302(b)—Qatl-e-amd—Reappraisal of evidence—Motive, failure to prove—Quantum of sentence—Mitigating circumstances—Death sentence awarded to accused was converted into imprisonment for life by High Court only on the ground that prosecution failed to prove any motive against the accused—Validity—Motive was always relevant for commission of crime, as it was the reason for which accused had taken the law into his hands and committed the crime—Motive was in fact the foundation of structure which ultimately culminated into accomplishment of crime—When motive was so basic and relevant for commission of crime, it would have bearing in every case while determining quantum of sentence—Motive set up in F.I.R. and reiterated at trial stage was hot discussion on religious issues between the parties—Religious feelings had always caused an agitation in mind if something was said against belief of a person and under such impulse when there was not only hot discussion but also there was exchange of abuses, the crime was committed under the compelling circumstances, therefore, death sentence was rightly converted by High Court to life imprisonment—If discretion in awarding lesser sentence was exercised by High Court for the stated reason, the same were not artificial or against the record and were sufficient to convert death sentence into life imprisonment—Supreme Court declined to interfere in the sentence altered by High Court—Appeal was dismissed.
Zulfiqar Khalid Maluka, Advocate Supreme Court for Appellants (in Cr. A. 160 of 2002).
Kh. Sultan Ahmed, Senior Advocate Supreme Court for Appellants (in Cr. A. 161 of 2002).
Mazhar Sher Awan, Additional P.-G. Punjab for the State.
Date of hearing: 3rd May, 2011.
TARIQ PARVEZ, J.—Cr. A. No. 161 of 2002: Learned counsel for the appellant states that as per his information, appellant is likely to be released from jail in near future on completion of his substantive sentence of imprisonment for life and that he has instructions not to press this appeal. Dismissed as not pressed.
Cr. A. No. 160 of 2002:
2. Leave to appeal was granted in this case on 18-4-2002, inter alia, to examine as to whether lesser sentence of life imprisonment awarded by the High Court to Qaiser Iftikhar, on the ground that prosecution has failed to prove the motive, is not contrary to the law laid down by this court in the case of Moazam Shah v. Mohsin Shah and others (PLD 2001 SC 458).
3. Short facts of the case are that Abrar Askari was done to death on 11-11-1999 at 10-50 p.m. for which Qaiser Iftikhar alias Muhammad Usama and another un-identified accused were charged in a complaint made by Iftikhar Mehmood; stating that deceased and respondent had entered into hot discussion on 9-11-1999 which was followed by altercation and fight over some religious issue as Abrar deceased was wearing a ring around his ankle. It was in the presence of complainant (Iftikhar Mehmood), who and other present on the spot intervened and separated the deceased and the respondent.
On 11-11-1999, when complainant and the deceased were present together at Saidpuri Gate, Qaiser Iftikhar respondent allegedly came and started religious discussion followed by abuses to the deceased who returned the abuses in the same tone whereafter Qaiser Iftikhar respondent left the spot by extending threats. It is case of the prosecution that after some time the respondent came armed with 30 bore pistol along with another young person, who was not identified, and fired at Abrar deceased and Iftikhar Mehmood complainant who sustained fire-arm injures. The two injured were taken to the hospital for treatment where during examination the deceased succumbed to injuries.
4. Learned counsel for the appellant has vehemently argued that the mode and the manner in which the deceased was done to death, was brutal and in absence of strong motive, the respondent deserved sentence of death and not life imprisonment. His submission is that the learned trial Judge has rightly convicted and sentenced the respondent to death which, for no good reasons, was altered from death to life imprisonment by the learned High Court.
Learned counsel for the appellant has read out the relevant para of the impugned judgment of the learned High Court and states that reasons, advanced for reducing the sentence, are not legal. His next submission was that the plea set up by the respondent that he was entitled to self-defence, was not believed by the learned High Court, therefore, the only version left to be considered was the one which was given by the prosecution through the testimony of Iftikhar Mehmood complainant who himself sustained fire-arm injuries. He further argued that dis¬prove/non-prove of motive by itself is no ground for awarding lesser sentence. He reiterated that in the circumstances of the case when there was no previous enmity between the parties, the respondent deserves no other sentence but death penalty.
5. We have heard the learned counsel for the respondent, who has argued that it has come in evidence that the deceased and the convict, in the first instance on 9-11-1999, after exchange of hot words over religious discussion, had not only altercated but also quarrelled; that even on the night of occurrence the deceased and the convict are alleged to have re-entered similar discussion which was followed by using filthy and abusive language against each other and, therefore, the crime was committed in the heat of passion where the respondent was out of self-control and under such impulse he has made firing at the deceased, therefore, the learned Division Bench of the High Court was justified in reducing the sentence of death to life imprisonment.
6. We agree with the proposition that motive is not sine qua non for the proof of commission of the crime and at time motive is not known to any other person other than the deceased or the accused person which never surfaced on the record. However, it cannot be denied that motive is always very relevant to determine the quantum of sentence that might be awarded to a person against whom charge of murder is proved.
7. There is always a motive behind the commission of any crime. If a person commits theft or commits the offence of Haraaba/robbery, the motive and the object is to procure money. In case of sex related offences, the motive is to satisfy the sexual lust and so on and so forth; however, the gravity of motive differs from offence to offence and from case to case. There can be an immediate motive for the commission of a crime or an old motive for taking some revenge; there can be a small motive or a bigger one. In any case, motive is always relevant for the commission of crime. It is “reason” for which an accused person takes the law into his hands and commits the crime. Motive is in fact the foundation of the structure which ultimately culminates into the accomplishment of the crime. When motive is so basic and relevant for the commission of the crime, it would definitely have bearing in every case while determining the quantum of sentence.
8. In this case, motive as set up in the F.I.R. and reiterated at the trial stage was hot discussion on religious issue between the parties not only on 9-11-1999 but also on 11-11-1999 and religious feelings always cause an agitation in mind if something is said against the belief of a person and under such impulse when there was not only hot discussion but also there was exchange of abuses, the crime apparently has been committed in this case under compelling circumstances, therefore, the sentence of death was rightly converted by the High Court to life imprisonment.
9. Even otherwise if discretion in awarding lesser sentence has been exercised by the High Court for the stated reasons, which do not appear to us to be artificial or against the record, these reasons were sufficient for converting death sentence into life imprisonment.
10. In the light of above, we find no merits in this appeal the same is dismissed accordingly.
M.H./I-4/SC Appeal dismissed.