MURDER

“The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.”― Jim Morrison[1]

I. MURDER: AN INRODUCTION

Murder is defined as the illegal, malicious, or preplanned death of a human by another. Murder, the most heinous offence meant against human body, requires both severe physical harm, i.e. causing a person’s death, and the degree level of mental guilt. Examining the law pertaining to murder reveals that the main distinction among both murder as well as the instant subtype of homicide is the necessity of a considerably higher extent of culpability in the case of a murder. “What differentiates these two different offences is the existence of a specific mens rea, which includes four states of mind in the existence any of which the lesser wrongdoing becomes more severe” As Per Justice Hidayatullah in Rajwant Singh v. State of Kerala[2].

II. LEGISLTAIONS PERTAINING TO MURDER

The four types of a murderer’s guilty mind are described in the four clauses of section 300[3] of the Indian Penal Code. These may be described generally as intent to cause death in the first clause, a great likelihood of dying under the second and third clauses, and a vast awareness of death under the fourth clause. The existence of the mental state referenced in any of the four clauses is sufficient to meet the necessity for a guilty mind for the crime of murder, despite the fact that each of these clauses pertains to qualitatively distinct types of mental state occurring in diverse physical and psychological contexts.[4]

 For example- when A stabs B with the intent to kill him, knowing that the same will result in his death has been referred to as murder. Section 302 of the IPC[5] prescribes the punishment for murder as death, imprisonment for life additionally with a fine. It shall also be noted that murder as defines under IPC and CrPC is a non-bailable as well as a non-compoundable offence.  Under section 303 of the IPC[6], whoever commits a murder while being under punishment of life imprisonment shall be punished with death! However, the same has been made unconstitutional in Mithu v State of Punjab; the court quashed Section 303 of the IPC, which mandated the death penalty for those who murder while serving life imprison in some other case.[7]

III. THE DATA: INSTANCES OF MURDER UNDER DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

According to government statistics, 8,083 women died in India in 2013 as a consequence of dowry-related attacks. Since the late 1990s, this figure has been widely used, according to estimates began circulating by women’s rights activists.  The total number of domestic homicides in India, of all types, is estimated at 100,000 per year. An additional 125,000 women reportedly die annually from injuries sustained in violent attacks, the vast majority of which are residential in nature. Due to the fact that such crimes are typically only evidenced by the victim and culprits, activists believe that the majority of them are successfully hidden as fatal accidents or suicide attempts. [8]

Accused families have issued a rebuttal, claiming that allegations of dowry-related and domestic abuse are created unjustly by “displeased wives” in order to punish their in-laws. This argument has occasionally been accepted by the Indian Supreme Court. It is uncertain whether government questionnaires, the most useful element obtainable for assessing reported and underreported crime, can reveal the real magnitude of dowry-related violence. The true number of dowry crimes will currently unclear until more accurate surveys or alternate solution methods of data collection are developed.[9]

IV. THE PROBLEM: THE AMBIGUITY IN THE JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS ON MURDER UNDER SECTION 300 OF IPC:

In situations involving domestic violence, the majority of the 109 judges surveyed by a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Sakshi, from the subordinate and superior courts of a few states are in furtherance of compromise and accommodation. In a criminal complaint alleging cruelty, the level of proof mandatory varies based on the judge’s perspective on cohabitation and matrimonial relationships, which is shaped by his upbringing. There is an immediate need to desensitize the law enforcement agency and the judiciary through training courses such as seminars and workshops so that they can comprehend the situation of domestic violence a woman faces in her traditional position. [10]

In Gudar Dusadh v. State of Bihar[11], the Supreme Court found the defendant guilty of murder in a situation that was, at finest, borderline, with powerful tendencies to crumble on either side of the divide. This discovery is likely to be reached with ambivalent approval. In this case, the accused sought revenge against the dead person and his party, who filed a police case against them. The accused intended to teach a lesson to the victims. They attacked them and knocked them without provocation. The accused delivered just one lathi hit to the head of the deceased victim. It led to his instantaneous death. Doctor reported that the deceased’s head injury was adequate in the normal order of nature to result in death.

However, there are factors, such as the utter lack of a prior plan to induce a fatal or grave injury as mentioned in section 300 of the IPC, the harm being induced by a simple, non-iron-shod lathi, and the exacerbation of just one lathi blow, that merited a more in-depth investigation for the purpose of gaining a proper understanding of the murder case.[12] It is unusual that the Supreme Court did not deem it meaningful to give any consideration to these factors, which could have had a significant impact on the issue of liability and also prompted a meaningful investigation into certain fundamental issues pertaining to the objective liability for murder under Indian law.[13]

V. THE JUDICIAL RESPONSE FOR LACUNA PERTAINING TO MURDER UNDER SECTION 302 IPC:

CASE STUDY 1

The dead person with her sister had been married to sons of the alleged Rohtash, as well as a few days after the wedding, the victim’s brother-in-law, father-in-law, and husband began mistreating and battering both sisters, as well as destroying the wedding gifts. Later, both sisters were assaulted and excluded from the joint estate, and the deceased’s 15-16-day-old infant was also abducted. However, the child was returned to the mother following intervention of the police. In Khushal Rao v. State of Bombay[14], SC ruled the dying declaration of an individual may be adequate to determine the defendant’s culpability, moreover, if the assertion is just and valid, it doesn’t even require corroborating evidence.

The conviction was predicated on a FIR submitted under Sections 302, 304B, 498A, 34, and 174A of the IPC  against four defendants, Rohtash, Santosh, Sumit, and Jitender. In accordance with section 302 of the IPC, the Delhi High Court convicted all accused persons charged with murder. Other defendants were acquitted of the crime for for which they had been alleged.[15]

VI. ANALYIS AND CONCLSUION: AN EQUITABLE SOLUTIONS:

Thus, we can say that murder under domestic violence has taken a very serious toll on the lives of the women; it has instilled not only a consistent fear in the minds of the women but has also decentralized the havoc situation prevailing today. All law enforcement officers, prosecution, as well as judicial officers must be subjected to gender equality learning that enlightens them on how established presumptions, mythologies, and preconceptions about women can impede the justice system being administered in an equitable and fair manner.[16] The involvement of domestic violence and crime victims’ social activists in these kinds of training courses may contribute to the eventual sensitivity of our system of criminal justice towards the domestic violence victims and other crimes.[17]


[1] Goodreads, https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/murder (last visited on 9th August, 2022)

[2] Rajwant Singh v. State of Kerala, A.I.R. 1966 S.C. 1874

[3] INDIA CONST. Indian Penal Code, § 300

[4] Bhuvaneshwar B. Pande, LIMITS ON OBJECTIVE LIABILITY FOR MURDER, Vol. 16, No. 3 Journal of the Indian Law Institute 469, 470 (1974)

[5] INDIA CONST. Indian Penal Code, § 302

[6] INDIA CONST. Indian Penal Code, § 303

[7] Utkarsh Anand , some questions of Life and Death, I. Express, May 27, 2015 12:53:39 am, https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-in-the-supreme-court-some-questions-of-life-and-death/

[8] Aaron Karp, Unheard & Uncounted: Violence against Women in India, S. A. Survey 1, 9 (2015)

[9] Ibid.

[10] R.K. Bag, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CRIME AGAINST WOMEN, Vol. 39 No. 2/4 J. of the I. Law I. 359, 362 (1997)

[11] Gudar Dusadh v. State of Bihar A.I.R. 1972 S.C. 952

[12] Bhuvaneshwar B. Pande, LIMITS ON OBJECTIVE LIABILITY FOR MURDER, Vol. 16, No. 3 Journal of the Indian Law Institute 469, 469 (1974)

[13] Ibid.

[14] Khushal Rao v. State of Bombay, AIR 1958 SC 22

[15] Devika Sharma, ‘Dying Declaration’ of a woman set ablaze by the husband, SCC Blog, (Aug. 9, 2022, 1:32 PM), https://www.scconline.com/blog/post/2021/10/01/dying-declaration-of-deceased/

[16] R.K. Bag, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND CRIME AGAINST WOMEN, Vol. 39 No. 2/4 J. of the I. Law I. 359, 375 (1997)

[17] Ibid.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE SAME, DO LET ME KNOW.

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In the year 2021, we wrote about 1000 Inspirational Women In India, in the year 2022, we would be featuring 5000 Start Up Stories.

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