Whether the Sudden and Severe Provocation Defense should be applied in cases of prolonged provocation | SCC's blog (2023)


The Provocation Doctrine is an established principle recognized in Exception 1 of Section 3001CPI, 1860. This principle aims to reduce the criminal liability of the accused for homicide in cases of intentional homicide that occurred in response to serious and sudden provocation of culpable homicide, which does not constitute homicide. Serious and sudden provocation derives its raison d'être from two main principles; one suggesting that criminal liability should be reduced as the accused was provoked to the extent that his judgment was impaired and the other suggesting that liability should be reduced as the perpetrator was the one who caused it to that extent.

theoretical framework

Exception 1 to Section 3002is read as:

300. Murder.* * *

exception 1When manslaughter is not murder.— It is not manslaughter if the agent, deprived of self-control by severe and sudden provocation, causes the death of the one who gave the provocation or causes the death of another person by accident or accident.

This exception speaks of a situation of irresistible impulse, in which the accused was deprived of his self-control and, out of extreme anger, caused the person's death. An essential condition for this condition is that the provocation is serious and sudden and he is unable to think rationally. This exception does not give the defendant a full defense, but rather it is a case of diminished liability.3

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In this exception, the meaning of "sudden" is that, unless the provocation is sudden, the effects will not affect the mind so much that it loses control of itself. The longer the time after the provocation, the greater the chances of regaining self-control. In other words, the defendant will have a longer cooling off period.

The main authority of this principle isK. M. Nanavativ.Bundesstate Maharashtra4Which states that:

85. .

Speaking of serious and sudden provocation, it is empirical to speakR. v.Duffy5where Devlin, J. gave the accepted classical definition in this case. He explained teasing as an act or series of acts, which may include spoken words, which would cause any reasonable person to suddenly and temporarily lose self-control. This loss of self-control makes him so passionate that he is not in control of his mind at that moment.

If the present case clearly establishes a suspicion, still maintained in practice, that the passage of time may result in a deliberate and calculated death, and invalidates the causal link between lack of control and provocation. The question is whether the time lapse can result in the enemy reloading hit, resulting in a negative taunt. What if the objectivity test prevails in every situation where these defenses are triggered?

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Battered Woman Syndrome

Battered Wife Syndrome is a psychological tool for understanding the mental state of battered wives, a term given to wives who, after suffering severe torture for a prolonged period, kill their aggressors due to the psychological effects or perpetuating the violence at the end of the cycle.

If we comply with the Section 300 exception and the test laid down by Lord Devlin inRV. Duffy6, the wife can claim defense only if she committed the act in a "sudden and temporary loss of self-control" which is disputed with the current situation.

In these situations, the question arises as to whether the person has the human reasons required by law to commit the crime. The mental state of the accused plays a crucial role in situations where the mental state of the accused denies the human foundations necessary to commit the crime, which should serve as a legal defense under the terms of the Penal Code.7It is understood that with a prolonged series of torture and provocation, an ongoing process may result in a delayed response to torture as the person's tolerance reaches its peak.

Similarly, it was carried out inRv.Ahluwalia8:

That women who have been subjected to frequent violent treatment over a period of time respond to the last act or word with what he calls a "slow" reaction, rather than an immediate loss of self-control. We accept that the subjective element of the defense of provocation would not be ruled out as a legal issue in these cases, simply because of the delay in response, in case there was a “sudden and temporary loss of self-control” at the time of the murder. ” caused by the alleged provocation. However, the longer the delay and the stronger the evidence supporting the defendant's reasoning, the more likely prosecutors are to reject the provocation.

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This case gave new terminology to negative provocation, namely that torture could cause a latent effect rather than an immediate loss of self-control. He also spoke about how the long delay and stronger evidence supporting the deliberation make it more likely that the defendant will have negative provocation.

Emlittle lakrav.state of assam9The Indian court for the first time fully dealt with the issue of battered wife syndrome and allowed the defendant to obtain a Section 300 exemption while enduring a long series of tortures.

The test of objectivity used in a number of cases is whether a reasonable man, finding himself in similar circumstances, would be so provoked that he would choose to bring about the death of the deceased. The objectivity test takes into account whether the testator's last act was so strong and gave the accused such an irresistible impulse that he lost self-control. What this judgment fails to achieve is a portrayal of the defendant's subjectivity and experience, which developed over time and resulted in the defendant reaching a point where his tolerance is broken, which with the defendant's ultimate offense may or may not be related. . dead.

Provocation works very differently in cases of assault, as it is a long and continuous process and it is very difficult to analyze a specific trigger point that led to the commission of the crime. This is a case of sustained provocation. Therefore, these cases cannot be judged strictly in the light of the criterion of objectivity, as this is contrary to the principles of equity, natural law and good conscience.

Persistent provocation and Indian court

There are many cases in foreign jurisdictions that speak of sustained provocation and how it should be read other than provocation. InRv.Chhay10approved by an Australian court. A chamber headed by the then president of the court that heard the matter recognized that a person can lose control of himself if the abuse continues for a long period of time, even if no specific event motivated the commission of the crime. Offense. The court also recognized subjective experience, determining that the trigger may not be the immediacy of the threat, but the cyclical violence.11

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Although battered woman syndrome has not yet been recognized by the penal code, the psychological impact it has on the defendant has been taken into account in deciding cases.12However, the question now is whether the continual teasing defense is available only to battered wives and not to any other relationship.

Indian courts have recognized the principle of continual provocation in many cases, not just for battered women. It is important to note what the Madras Supreme Court saidSuyambukkani, In re13where they judicially recognized the notion of prolonged provocation, believing that the drafters of the penal code had foreseen it. They pointed out a fundamental difference between the exception registered in art. 300 and continued provocation, because while the exception speaks of serious and sudden provocation, continued provocation is a series of serious acts of a serious nature suffered over a period of time. . Sustained provocation should not be equated with a sudden loss of momentum; rather, it is to be understood as the last act, like the last straw, broke the camel's back. It has been established that sustainable precaution is ejusdem generis with the other exceptions such as absence of malice and intent.14

poovammalv.Illness15is another historical judgment on the above matter, effectively pointing out the nature of time in such matters. They felt that there may be times when the abuser is not reacting at that particular moment but is in their head and is constantly harassing the person causing everything to explode and at some point they lose control of themselves which can lead to to the commission of the crime. It is this breaking point of the accused that leads him to commit the murder of the deceased.

In determining whether the provocation was severe enough to bring the defendant to this stage, the deceased's previous actions must be measured to understand whether or not they were severe enough to cause an adverse effect on the defendant.sixteenDefense must be allowed as a trigger and loss of self-control cannot be seen independently; the facts that gave rise to the provocation must be taken into account.17

Need to reform the law with changing times

While countries such as the UK, Australia and the US have recognized the problem of prolonged teasing, the Penal Code is far from addressing the problem. However, some courts in India have adopted this in some cases, but proper recognition of the matter remains. Through this article we try to understand the seriousness of the problem. Like any other exception in the Penal Code, prolonged provocation must be used as an excuse for the lack of common sense necessary for the commission of the crime. The necessity of this involvement is that the lack of an explicit defense makes lower courts reluctant to grant the defendant this defense, which is unfair, unreasonable, and unjust.

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To this end, it is proposed to add one more exception to prolonged provocation in Article 300 of the Penal Code in the interests of justice.

*Fourth year student, BALLB, Jamia Hamdard, Considered University, New Delhi. The author can be contacted at <itsme.nidhipandey@gmail.com>.

7.The battered woman syndrome dilutes the necessary judgment of men, as the continual torture caused them to commit the act, not the guilty judgment. The defendant lacks sufficient evidence to be held responsible for committing the crime, so he should be charged with a lesser crime on the scale of the original defendant.verSharan K. Suri, “A Matter of Principle and Consistency: Understanding Abused Women and Cultural Defenses,” 7(1) Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, pp. 107-139, on p. 111 (2000).


When can the Defence of provocation be used? ›

Provocation is applicable in murder cases where the conduct of the deceased victim was provocative and caused the accused to lose self-control. However, the provocative conduct of the deceased must be of a standard that would cause an ordinary person to lose self-control and act in the way in which the accused did.

Can you use provocation as a defense? ›

Provocation may be a defense for a murder charge, but if successful, it does not yield acquittal but a reduction to a manslaughter charge. Provocation as a ground for murder denotes more than ordinary anger as the provocation for a killing.

Are words enough for provocation? ›

Mere words alone, or threats, menaces, or gestures alone, however offensive or insulting, do not constitute adequate provocation. However, words, threats, menaces, or gestures, when considered in connection with provoking conduct of the deceased, may constitute adequate provocation.

What is an example of provocation defense? ›

Additional Examples of Provocation in Law

For example, where a husband sues for divorce claiming that his wife abandoned him, the wife could defend the suit on the grounds that the husband's cruel and inhuman treatment toward her provoked her departure.

Why the defence of provocation is good? ›

The rationale behind the defence of provocation is that a person's moral culpability is reduced when they have lost control in response to provocative conduct. A conviction for manslaughter rather than murder is said to be more reflective of the level of blameworthiness in this situation.

Why is extreme provocation important? ›

Provocation, or as it is now known “extreme provocation”, operates to reduce a charge of murder to manslaughter: s 23(1) Crimes Act 1900.

What are the elements of the defense of provocation? ›

Requirements of Provocation
  • a wrongful act or insult of such a nature that it is sufficient to deprive an ordinary person of the power of self-control (objective) and.
  • the accused act upon that insult all of the sudden and before there was time for his passion to cool (subjective)

What are examples of provocation? ›

A provocation makes someone angry or sometimes even violent. Telling a professional boxer how ugly he is would be considered a provocation — one that might get you punched in the face. Provocation is the act of provoking someone — doing something just to get a reaction.

How do you deal with provocation? ›

Approach the person directly.

You could say something like: "I might be wrong, but I've gotten the feeling that you're upset with me. Have I done something to offend you?" Believe it or not, the person may have no idea of how you perceive them. This simple conversation may be all that's needed to change their behavior.

What are the three elements of adequate provocation? ›

  • 1 The provocation was such that a reasonable person would also lose control.
  • 2 The provocation actually provoked the defendant.
  • 3 The defendant did not have a reasonable amount of time to calm down before the killing.
Oct 16, 2022

What is serious provocation? ›

serious provocation means conduct which is sufficient to excite an intense passion in a reasonable person in the defendant's situation, other than a person who is intoxicated, under the circumstances as the defendant reasonably believed them to be; insulting words, insulting gestures, or hearsay reports of conduct ...

Is provocation an offense? ›

The term “provocation,” used with reference to an offence of which an assault is an element, includes, except as hereinafter stated, any wrongful act or insult of such a nature as to be likely, when done to an ordinary person, or in the presence of an ordinary person to another person who is under his immediate care, ...

Why should extreme provocation be abolished? ›

This research concludes that the continued operation of provocation in NSW raises key issues surrounding the legitimisation of male violence against women, the denial and minimisation of the harm caused by lethal domestic violence, and the continued inability of the law to appropriately respond to women who kill in the ...

What are the criticisms of the defence of provocation? ›

Debate about the provocation defence [3]: Several criticisms have been made about the defence including that provocation and a loss of self-control is an inappropriate basis for a partial defence; that the defence is gender-biased; that the test for the defence is conceptually confused and difficult for juries to ...

What was wrong with provocation? ›

One of the main criticisms of provocation is that it has been accused of being discriminatory against female defendants, forcing them to plead diminished responsibility to secure a manslaughter conviction.

What is the simple meaning of provocation? ›

: the act of provoking : incitement. : something that provokes, arouses, or stimulates.

What is power of provocation? ›

A provocation can be presented in different forms and intends to elicit ideas to develop and discover new knowledge. It can be an image, a picture book, a question, a video clip, materials, a field trip, or a nature walk to spark curiosity about a concept or an idea.

How do you calm down when someone provokes you? ›

Here are some techniques that will keep you true to yourself, let you be heard and yet not cause a major rift:
  1. Stop: Take five seconds and drink a glass of water. ...
  2. Detach: Notice where the anger resides in your body. ...
  3. Vent: Find someone you trust and use your most creative language to let the mad out.
Sep 8, 2015

Who has the burden of proof in provocation? ›

The prosecution bears the burden of proof at all times to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not murder the victim in a fit of rage.

What are examples of provocation cases? ›

Example of Adequate Provocation

For example, José comes home from work early and catches his wife in bed with his best friend. He becomes so enraged that he storms over to the dresser, grabs his handgun, and shoots and kills her. Clearly, José acts with intent to kill.

What does defence of provocation mean? ›

The defence of provocation is a partial defence and may be raised to the charge of murder. A successful defence of provocation will reduce the charge of murder to voluntary manslaughter.

What is the purpose of a provocation? ›

A provocation can come in many different forms, but it is always intended to provoke thoughts, ideas, and actions that can help to expand on a thought, project, idea or an interest. Provocations, by nature, tend to provoke thoughts, ideas, and actions.

What is sudden provocation? ›

Section 334 in The Indian Penal Code [Complete Act] provocation.—Whoever voluntarily causes hurt on grave and sudden provocation, if he neither intends nor knows himself. Central Government Act. Cites 0 - Cited by 475. Section 222 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 [Complete Act]


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