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‘Right to defend property no excuse to kill’

The right to defend property cannot be used as an excuse to kill someone,a city court held as it handed down a sentence of life in prison to a 61-year-old man,who murdered a person during a dispute over possession of land.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi |
March 4, 2009 12:45:39 am

The right to defend property cannot be used as an excuse to kill someone,a city court held as it handed down a sentence of life in prison to a 61-year-old man,who murdered a person during a dispute over possession of land. “Taking away the life of a human being is the gravest of offences. Convicts in these circumstances deserve no sympathy,” Additional Sessions Judge Surinder S Rathi said.

Citing relevant legal provisions,the judge dismissed a plea by Prakash Chand,who had sought immunity from the murder charge by claiming he exercised his right to private defence of property after the victim and others tried to trespass and take forcible possession of his land.

The matter pertained to a dispute over a piece of land near Mori Mosque in Central Delhi. While the complainant in the case,Ahmed Sultan,claimed the property belonged to him,Chand contended that his forefathers had been its owners. On August 8,1993,the matter turned ugly when Sultan arrived at the spot along with some labourers for carrying out construction work. A feud soon ensued,and Chand hit Gurdayal,a labourer,on the head with a stick. Gurdayal suffered multiple fractures in his skull and was declared brought dead at a nearby hospital.

As arguments in the case proceeded,Chand raised the plea of right to private defence of his property,saying the law required the judge not to punish him for the murder charge as he was merely trying to protect his land and that he had no intention of killing anyone.

ASJ Rathi,however,threw out his plea,noting that the right could not be extended to the limit that it presented a motive to kill someone in the guise of exercising a right.

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