Culpable Homicide

Culpable Homicide

Introduction

In India homicide is divided into two forms- Culpable Homicide (Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code) and Culpable Homicide amounting to murder (Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code). Both of these have a very minimal difference but these differences prove to be very crucial for the legal system as the delivery of a fair judgment is dependent on these differences. Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session.

Meaning of Homicide

Homicide is a term which originates from the Latin term ‘Homo’ means human and ‘caedere’ means killing. The act of homicide is an act that has been a part of human life since day one. Early men used to kill each other for food or creating dominance, the kings used to perform homicide to win territories and now people kill each other in the sway of jealousy, greed, etc.

means “killing of a human being by a human being”. Homicide is the highest order of bodily injury that can be inflicted on a human body. It has from earliest times considered the most heinous of offences.

Homicide may be either lawful or unlawful

Lawful Homicide: In case of lawful homicide, the law will set the culprit free if the accused had a valid reason to commit the crime. In these cases, the person will not tend to be tried by the law and can also be exempted from the charges. Lawful Homicide may include justifiable and excusable homicide.

Unlawful Homicide: If death is caused with intention or knowledge to cause death, then homicide is classified as unlawful homicide. Unlawful Homicide may include death by rash and negligent act (Sec 304-A), suicide (Sec 309) or culpable homicide.

Culpable Homicide

Section 299 of IPC defines culpable homicide. It means 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 his act is likely to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide. 

Essential elements for Culpable Homicide

Sections 299 of the Indian Penal Code following Conditions are to be satisfied:

  1. There must be a death of a Person,
  2. The death must have been caused by an act of another person,
  3. The act of causing death must be:
  4. with the intention of causing death,
  5. with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or
  6. with the knowledge that such an act is likely to cause death.

Illustration

A not knowing that D has a tumour in his brain, hits him hard on the head with a cricket bat, with the intention of causing death or with the knowledge that death is likely to be caused. D dies because of the bursting of the tumour. A is liable for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Culpable Homicide amounting to Murder

Culpable homicide is murder, if the act is done with the intention of causing death or if it is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause the death of the person or if the inflicted bodily injury is sufficient enough in the ordinary course of nature to cause death or if there is knowledge involved that the act done is so fatal that in all probability it can cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death and commits such act without any excuse. All culpable homicides are not murder, but all murders are culpable homicide.

Essential elements for Murder

  1. The intention of causing death.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Illustration

X knows that Z has a tumour in his brain and he hits him again and again with a bat on his head with the intention of causing death, and Z dies subsequently. X is liable for Murder.

Punishment

Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code provides punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 299 IPC), shall be liable for life imprisonment or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

-Niyti Jangra
Associate at Law Offices of Kr.Vivek Tanwar, Advocate & Associates

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