Culpable homicide not amounting to murder has different aspects that is, when an offence is done it must include the exceptions mentioned in sec 300 of IPC so that it can fall under this section. The word intent and knowledge are the two most important part of crime or plays an important role under section 304 of IPC .
Section 304 provides punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Whoever commits this act with the intention of causing death shall be punished with imprisonment either for life or rigorous or fine. If the act is done with the knowledge that it may cause death then the offender shall be liable for a term extended to 10 years or fine or both. It is divided into two categories the first one deals with intention and the second one deals with knowledge of causing death or bodily injury.
SECTION 304 PART I OF IPC
The part 1 of this section states that –“ Whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death;”
Here, the trial court can punish the offender for a certain period, that is, maximum punishment of life imprisonment is given under this section.
In a case of Rampal Singh Vs State of UP, reported in 2012 Vol(3) of Supreme Court Cases (Criminal) at page 860,
The Supreme Court has observed that section 299 and 300 of IPC clearly defines and distinguishes Culpable Homicide and Murder respectively.
Culpable homicide is described as an act of causing death
- With the intention of causing death
- With the intention of causing such bodily injury as likely to cause death,
- With the knowledge that such an act can cause death
The expression, Intention and Knowledge must be in the mind of the offender at the time of Commission of offense. Where there was an intention to cause death or bodily injury to the person which is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death or injury or imminently dangerous so that it would amount to murder But when the offender while being deprived of the power of control by grave and sudden provocation causes death ,this act would amount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
SECTION 304 PART II OF IPC
“Or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both, if the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.” If act is done with knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, etc then the punishment for the offense would be 10yrs of rigorous imprisonment or fine or both.
It applies when the act is done with the knowledge that is likely to cause death but no intention to cause death ( third clause of sec.299, IPC). However, if an offence is committed with the knowledge 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 such act is done without any excuse, then the offence will be taken out of the purview of sec. 304, Pt II, and would be covered under sec. 302, as the offence would amount to murder under sec. 300, cl (4). Thus, the knowledge referred to in Pt II of s 304 is of a lesser degree than the special knowledge referred to in cl (4) of sec. 300.
This section 304 of the Indian Penal Code divides the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder into two categories depending upon the nature and gravity of the offence:
- In the first category, which is considered to be more serious and grave in nature liability has to be proved on the basis of intention of the person while committing the offence.
- Whereas, the second category which is considered to be less serious in nature, the liability does not depend upon the intention.
The bare reading of the section makes it clear that the first and the second clause of the section refer to intention apart from the knowledge and the third clause refers to knowledge alone and not intention. Both the expression “intent” and “knowledge” postulate the existence of a positive mental attitude which is of different degrees. The mental element in culpable homicide i.e. mental attitude towards the consequences of conduct is one of intention and knowledge.
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