CULPABLE HOMICIDE & MURDER
In this article we will going to learn about Culpable Homicide (s. 299/ 304) and Murder (s. 300/ 302) and distinction between the two sections conceptually. We will explain what is difference between culpable homicide and murders in this article so lets understand CULPABLE HOMICIDE & MURDER step by step,
The term “Murder” traces its origin form the Germanic word “morth” which means secret killing. Murder means when one person is killed by another person or a group of persons who have a pre-determined intention to end life of the former. An offence will not amount to ‘Murder’ unless it includes an offence which falls under the definition of culpable homicide as per the definition of ‘Murder’ under IPC. All murders are culpable homicide but all homicides are not murders. Section 299 and Section 300 of Indian Penal Code deal with murder.
The word homicide is supposedly derived from Latin where “homo” means man and “cida” means killing. Thus, homicide means the killing of a man by a man. Homicide can be lawful or unlawful. Culpable homicide is punishable by law and is further divided into two categories:
- Culpable homicide amounting to murder
- Culpable homicide not amounting to murder
3. MURDER AS PER SECTION 300 OF THE INDIAN PENAL CODE
Section 300 of the IPC reads as follows: 300. Murder. —Except in the cases hereinafter excepted, culpable homicide is murder, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or—
(Secondly) —If it is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused, or—
(Thirdly) —If it is done with the intention of causing bodily injury to any person and the bodily injury intended to be inflicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, or—
(Fourthly) —If the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.
If we analyse the definition under Section 300 of the IPC, culpable homicide is considered as murder if:
- The act is committed with an intention to cause death.
- The act is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury for which the offender has knowledge that it would result in death.
- The person has the knowledge that his act is dangerous and would cause death or bodily injury but still commits the act, this would amount to murder.
INGREDIENTS OF MURDER
- Causing death: There should be an intention of causing death
- Doing an act: There should be an intention to cause such bodily injury that is likely to cause death or
- The act must be done with the knowledge that the act is likely to cause the death of another.
- A shoots B with an intention of killing him. As a result, B dies, murder is committed by A.
- D intentionally gives a sword-cut to C that is sufficient to cause death of anyone in the ordinary course of nature. As a consequence, C dies. Here, D is guilty of murder though he did not intend to cause C’s death.
Virsa Singh v. State of Punjab (AIR 1958 SC 465)
There was only one injury on Khem Singh and both Courts are agreed that the appellant caused it. It was caused as the result of a spear thrust. To put it shortly, the prosecution must prove the following facts before it can bring a case under s. 300, 3rdly “.
First, it must establish, quite objectively, that a bodily injury is present.
Secondly, the nature of the injury must be proved; These are purely objective investigations.
Thirdly, it must be proved that there was an intention to inflict that particular bodily injury, that is to say, that it was not accidental or unintentional, or that some other kind of injury was intended.
Once these three elements are proved to be present, the enquiry proceeds further and, Fourthly,it must be proved that the injury of the type just described made up of the three elements set out above is sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. It does not matter that there was no intention to cause death or even to cause an injury sufficient to cause death.It does not even matter that there is no knowledge that an act of that kind will be likely to cause death. The question, so far as the intention is concerned[purely subjective], is not whether he intended to kill, or to inflict an injury of a particular degree of seriousness, but whether he intended to inflict the injury in question; and once the existence of the injury’s proved the intention to cause it will be presumed unless the evidence or the circumstances warrant an opposite conclusion.
4. CULPABLE HOMICIDE AS PER SECTION 299 OF THE INDIAN PENAL CODE
Section 299 of IPC reads as follows:
299. Culpable homicide — Whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.
5. DISTINCTION BETWEEN CULPABLE HOMICIDE AND MURDER
Now, let us compare both the sections and see when does culpable homicide amounts to murder.
- First Point of Difference
The phrase “an act with the intention of causing death” has been used in section 299 and 300
both. Then where is the difference?
Sometimes an intentional act that causes death will not amount to murder because it falls under the five exceptions provided in section 300, that’s culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
So, if an intentional act which fulfills the condition of section 299, but it goes to the second part of section 300(exceptions), then that act does not amount to murder.
- Second Point of Difference
Whoever causes death by performing an act with the intention of causing such bodily injury as
is likely to cause death.
Comparing this part of 299 with 300, that is, if the act is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury where the offender knows that it is likely to cause death of the person to whom the harm is caused. Or,
If the act is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury to any person and where the bodily injury intended to be inflicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.
Bodily Injury + Intention + Knowledge
Here, for this part, we can clearly see that an act, when done with intention but not with knowledge, will not amount to murder, and it will be culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Bodily Injury + Intention
But even if there is an absence of knowledge and the bodily injury intended to be inflicted, in the ordinary course of nature is sufficient, it will amount to murder.
Bodily injury that is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death + Intention
3. Third Point of Difference
If a person causes death by doing an act with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to
This is the last condition laid down in 299.
So if we raise the degree a bit higher, then the act will fall under 300.
If the person committing the act has the knowledge that it is so imminently dangerous that it will in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and thereby he commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid, amounts to murder.
Knowledge is in both the cases, but the degree makes the difference.
Example: I had a knowledge that if I give very tight two-three slaps to an old person who is very weak, he may die due to nervous shock. And if he dies, it will be culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
But what if I start beating him so severely that blood starts coming out. Knowing that the man is so weak that he will not be able to bear the pain even for a second. And if he dies, it will be culpable homicide amounting to murder. read more here
The main points of difference between culpable homicide and murder are:
- Culpable homicide is wider than the term murder. Culpable homicide is therefore considered as the genus while as murder is regarded as a species. All murders are culpable homicide but all culpable homicides are not regarded as murder.
- Murder is an aggravated form of culpable homicide.
- In murder, the offender has a definite knowledge that the act would result in the death while as in culpable homicide the knowledge is not so definite.
- The probability of causing death is higher in murder than culpable homicide.