Difference between Culpable homicide and murder

Section 299 IPC defines the term Culpable homicide and Section 300 IPC defines the term Murder, and there is a thin line between both of them which causes confusion and problems among law students, advocates, legal practitioners

According to Section 299 of IPC, Culpable homicide is defined as, 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.
and murder in Section 300 is defined as, “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.”

Murder is a species and culpable homicide is his genus i.e. “All murders are culpable homicide, but all culpable homicides are not murder.” So, we can divide culpable homicide into two parts-
• Culpable Homicide Amounting to Murder: – The act which fulfils the conditions of Section 299 and the first part of Section 300.
• Culpable Homicide Not Amounting to Murder:- The act which fulfils the conditions of Section 299 but does not fulfil the condition in Section 300 or lies an exception to Section 300 in the second part.

The difference in both of them are described overtime in various cases such as in Reg. v. Govinda, 1876 the accused knocked down his wife and kept a knee on her chest and gave two to three violent blows with a closed fist on her face which produced extraversion of blood on her brain and his wife died due to this. The court held that this act was not committed with the intention of causing death and the injuries on her body was not sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. So, the accused was held liable to culpable homicide but not for murder.
In the case of Jalluddin 1982, An Ojha commonly known as tantric had beaten a girl to remove her from the ill effects of ghosts, which results in her death. The court held Ojha guilty of culpable homicide not for murder.
In the case of Kusa Majhi v/s State of Orissa 1985, the deceased told her son not to go out fishing with others. The son got angry and blows her shoulder with an axe resulting in her death. The court held that blows were made in the heat of the moment and there is no pre-plan for this offence. Therefore, he was held liable for culpable homicide as the blows were likely to cause bodily injury but not for murder.

So, we can conclude by saying that an act becomes murder, only when it is culpable homicide and complies with all the conditions under Section 300IPC.



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