Murder and Culpable Homicide

MURDER AS PER SECTION 300 OF THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

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.

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.

ILLUSTRATIONS

  • 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.

CULPABLE HOMICIDE AS PER SECTION 299 OF THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

Section 299 of IPC:

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.

In the case of Reg. v. Govinda ( 1877) ILR 1 Bom 342), the accused had knocked down his wife, kept a knee on her chest and gave two to three violent blows with the closed fist on her face. This act produced extraversion of blood on her brain and afterwards, the wife died due to this. The act was not committed with the intention of causing death and the bodily injury was not sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. The accused was liable to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

DISTINCTION BETWEEN CULPABLE HOMICIDE AND MURDER

The thin line is the intention behind the act. All murders are culpable homicide but the vice-versa is not true. The most confusing aspect is ‘intention’ as in both the provisions the intention is to cause death. Hence, you have to consider the degree of intention of offenders. If the person is killed in cold-blood or with planning then it is murder because the intention to kill is in high degree and not out of sudden rage or provocation. On other hand, if the victim is killed without pre-planning, in sudden fight or in sudden anger because of somebody’s provocation or instigation, then such a death is called culpable homicide. Hence, whether the act done is culpable homicide or murder is a question of fact.

Aishwarya Says:

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