Asgarali Pradhania v. Emperor (AIR 1933 Cal 893)

Material Facts

In the given case Complainant is a 20yrs. old divorcee and is staying at her father’s house in a cook shed. The appellant is a neighbor who has lent money to the complainant’s father and was on good terms with him. He was a married man with children. As stated by the complainant, the appellant used to give her presents and has also promised to marry her. As a result sexual intercourse took place between them and the complainant became pregnant.  Thus, she asked him to fulfill his promise, but he demurred and suggested that she should take drugs to procure a miscarriage. One night he brought her a bottle half full of a red liquid, and a paper packet containing a powder. After he went away the complainant tasted the powder, but finding it salty and strong, she spat it out. She did not try the liquid. The following night the appellant came again and on finding that she had not taken either the powder or the liquid, he forced her to take them, but she refused to say that she was afraid for her own life and that the powder irritated her tongue. Thereupon he asked her to open her mouth, and approached her with the bottle, and took hold of her chin. But the complainant snatched the bottle from him and shouted loudly as a result her father and some neighbors appeared on the spot and the appellant fled away. The police were informed, and upon analysis, sulfate of copper was detected in the powder, but the amount was not ascertained. However, there was no poison detected in the liquid.


  1. Whether the appellant is liable for an attempt to cause miscarriage?



  • The Learned Counsel argued that the complainant was an accomplice herself as she was willing to destroy the fetus but was afraid of the consequences to herself.
  • The Learned Counsel further argued that evidence produced by the Complainant was not corroborated.
  • The Learned Counsel after relying upon various judgments argued that the facts proved do not constitute an offense of attempt to cause miscarriage within the meaning of Section 511, IPC.
  • It was argued that there was no evidence to show that either the liquid or the powder was capable of causing a miscarriage thus the appellant cannot be convicted of an attempt to do so.


  • The Learned Counsel after relying upon several witnesses who observed the discovery of evidence and the fight between appellant and complainant argued that the complainant cannot be an accomplice and also there is some corroboration of her evidence.

Observation of the Court

The Hon’ble Court after relying upon the facts stated in this case and for the reasons already given observed that the appellant cannot be convicted for an offense of attempt to commit miscarriage under law. This is because what he did was not an “act done towards the commission of the offense” of causing a miscarriage. Neither the liquid nor the powder being harmful, they could not have caused a miscarriage. The appellant’s failure was not due to a factor independent of himself.

Verdict of the Court

The court, in this case, held that conviction and sentence must be held aside and the appellant is acquitted.

Learning Outcome

The crime involves four stages-

  1. Intention to commit,
  2. Preparation to commit,
  • Attempt to commit, and
  1. The commission itself

Therefore, it can be said that the ambit of the word “attempt” within the meaning of Section 511 IPC is very wide. Section 511 IPC talks about punishment for attempting to commit offenses punishable with imprisonment for life or another imprisonment. However, the word “attempt is not defined under IPC and therefore there is a little confusion regarding which act is to be called an attempt. In this case, many theories regarding the word attempt have been discussed. Everyone has his own version of defining the word “attempt”. It is again the problem as to which act is to be made penultimate. Therefore, it can be said that the meaning of the word “attempt” is ambiguous and is interpreted as per the intention of the act committed and the circumstances of the case.

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