Ifthikar Mehmood & Anr. v. Qaiser Ifthikar (2011 SCMR 1165)

Motive is a relevant factor towards determining the quantum of sentence. The motive of religious feelings can amount to compelling circumstances mitigating against a capital sentence.

Tags: Motive   Murder   Provocation   Religion  

The accused was charged with murder. The complainant alleged that the accused had gotten into a quarrel with the deceased over religious issues, which turned into a physical altercation. The complainant said he and others present separated the accused and the decreased. Two days later, the accused allegedly came across the deceased again and got into another religious argument, which resulted in an exchange of verbal abuses and the accused leaving while uttering threats. The complainant alleged that the accused then returned to the spot with a pistol and shot at both the deceased and the complainant, causing injuries to both. The decreased succumbed to his injuries in hospital. The accused was convicted under PPC 302(b) and sentenced to death at trial, but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Lahore High Court. The court noted that “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.” The court accepted the motive, and noted that “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.” Thus the Supreme Court accepted that the motive was sufficiently provoking as to counsel against a death sentence, and upheld the commutation.