This article aims to delve into the complexities of the concept of murder in the recently released statute i.e., Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023. The article will help the reader to gain a better understanding laws of India relating to the crime of murder. This article will further discuss the offence in detail. It will also explore the punishments and the different interpretations made by justices in evolving the concept of murder. The article will also analyze the difference made in the former statute and the new statute.


Murder has been defined in section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and in section 99 of Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023. It has been understood as the unlawful killing of any person with a deliberate intention to kill or cause grievous hurt to the person.

Hawkins has defined murder as “the willful killing of any subject whatever, with malice aforethought, whether the person slain shall be an Englishman or a foreigner.”

According to Blackstone, when a person, of sound memory and discretion, unlawfully kills any reasonable creature in being and under the king’s peace, with malice aforethought either express or implied.

An analysis of these definitions by different jurists leads to a basic definition that any unlawful killing of any person with the intention to cause bodily injury that is likely to cause death of the person injured is murder.


To constitute the offence of murder it is necessary to establish that:

There was a guilty act; (actus reus) and;

There was a guilty mind (mens rea)



Section 99 of BNS, 2023 has defined murder in four clauses. The language of the section lays down the situations in which culpable homicide is murder. Basically, it can be said that section 99 defines the conditions when culpable homicide amounts to murder. For a further understanding, it can be laid that all murders are culpable homicide but not otherwise.

Clause (a) lays that there shall be an intention of causing death

Clause (b) lays down that the person shall know that the act he is doing is likely to cause death of the person being harmed.

Clause (c) states that if the act is done with the intention of causing bodily injury and the bodily injury that is intended to be inflicted shall be sufficient to cause the death of the person on whom it is inflicted and this should be the ordinary nature of the injury that is caused to the person.

Clause (d) of the section provides that if the person who is doing such act knows that the act is imminently dangerous that it might cause death of the person and that there will not be any excuse available to the person then also it shall constitute the offence of murder.

The section also extends to provide exceptions to the situation when culpable homicide does not amount to murder.

SECTION 300 OF IPC, 1860

Section 300 of the IPC has also described the offence of murder in a very similar language as used in section 99 of BNS, 2023. It has also explained the offence under the same four clauses, however, this section is explained in paras rather than clauses. Similarly, following the illustrations are provided the exceptions to the offence of murder as in section 99 of BNS.

A deep analysis of section 300 of IPC and section 99 of BNS leads to a conclusion that there has not been any major change in the definition of the offence of murder after the formation of the new statute.


Section 99 of the BNS also provides exceptions to the offence of murder. However, these exceptions say that the person can still be prosecuted for the offence of culpable homicide.

Following are the exceptions that have been provided under the section:

  1. Grave and sudden provocation – if the act is done under grave and sudden provocation then it would not amount to murder but culpable homicide. It is required that the act should be out of self-control of the offender and driven by the sudden provocation. However, it is to be noted that the provocation should not be voluntary or in obedience to law or shall not be under the lawful exercise of private defence.
  2. Honest faith of private defence – if the offender is in the belief that he has the right to do such act under the right to private defence. In determining this exception, it is important to establish that there should not be any intention of the person to cause the death of the person.
  3. Public servant – if the offence has been done by a public servant under the course of his employment or by exceeding his authority under necessity then also culpable homicide will not amount to murder.
  4. Sudden fight – if the offence is done without premeditation under sudden fight or over a sudden quarrel then the person cannot be held for murder. In this situation, culpable homicide will not amount to murder.
  5. Consent of the deceased – if the consent of the person so caused harm is taken provided that the person was of the age of majority then this kind of culpable homicide would not amount to murder.


The article provided a deep analysis of the section 99 of the BNS. Through a comprehensive reading of the section it can be concluded that murder is a specific form of culpable homicide wherein the death of the person so harmed is very likely or rather the ordinary result of the act. The section also provides exceptions to the offence. It explains when culpable homicide will not amount to murder. It provides the circumstances when the act of the offender does not amount to murder. It is also evident from the language of the section that no major change has been made to the new statutes as compared to the Indian Penal Code of 1860. 

Ishita Saxena (Legal Intern)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This field is required.

This field is required.


The following disclaimer governs the use of this website (“Website”) and the services provided by the Law offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate & Associates in accordance with the laws of India. By accessing or using this Website, you acknowledge and agree to the terms and conditions stated in this disclaimer.

The information provided on this Website is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as legal advice or relied upon as such. The content of this Website is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between you and the Law Firm. Any reliance on the information provided on this Website is done at your own risk.

The Law Firm makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, completeness, reliability, or suitability of the information contained on this Website.

The Law Firm disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions in the content of this Website or for any actions taken in reliance on the information provided herein. The information contained in this website, should not be construed as an act of solicitation of work or advertisement in any manner.