Kerala HC Upholds Murder Charges in 2023 Killing of Dr. Vandana Das

Dr Vandana Das Murder

The Kerala High Court has upheld the murder charges against the accused in the 2023 murder of Dr. Vandana Das, a 23-year-old house surgeon.

Consequently, the accused, Sandeep G, will face trial for the offence of murder. Sandeep allegedly stabbed Dr. Das multiple times while she was examining him after the police brought him to the hospital for a medical examination. Dr. Das succumbed to her injuries, leading to Sandeep being charged under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code, including Section 302, which prescribes the punishment for murder.

A single bench of Justice A. Badharudden dismissed Sandeep’s argument that his actions were provoked by the delay in treatment, which would only amount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder, punishable under Section 304 of the IPC. The Court noted that the accused individual had attacked several hospital officials before fatally stabbing Dr. Das. The jduge ruled that grave and sudden provocation could not be argued when the mental state seemingly persisted for a long time.

Court’s Observation

“Long-lasting provocation, either mild or grave, could not be construed as sudden provocation. Long-lasting provocation carries an element of special mens rea or the very intention to commit the crime. Here, the accused started to attack everybody repeatedly after taking the scissors kept in the procedure room and hiding them. Though many were saved from fatality, ultimately, Dr. Vandana succumbed to the injuries allegedly caused by the accused. In such a case, at the stage of framing charge, no court would find that the accused committed the acts due to grave and sudden provocation, so as to consider the case as one of lesser murder, that is, culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” the court stated.

Challenging Trial Court’s Order

The order was issued in response to Sandeep’s petition challenging the trial court’s decision to dismiss his plea for discharge from the case. His main contention was that he had no intention to cause harm but was provoked by the delay in treatment, leading to Dr. Das’s death and injuries to others. Sandeep’s counsel noted that Dr. Das’s parents, in a petition to transfer the case to the CBI, had claimed the State police investigation was faulty. However, the Court had already dismissed the parents’ plea, finding no reason to doubt the investigation’s credibility.

The prosecution argued that the evidence justified the murder charge. After reviewing the principles laid down by the Supreme Court on discharging accused persons, the court examined whether the prosecution’s material seemed prima facie sufficient to support the murder charge. The court concluded that it was not possible to determine that Sandeep had attacked Dr. Das without intent to cause bodily harm or without knowing that his actions could be fatal. Therefore, the charges, including murder, were deemed appropriate.

Read More: Supreme CourtDelhi High CourtStates High CourtOther CourtsInternational

Recommended For You

About the Author: Nunnem Gangte