R, a village woman aged twenty was ill-treated by her husband. There was a quarrel between the two and the husband threatened that he would beat her. Late that night, the woman, taking her six months old baby in her arms…

By | July 21, 2021
ipc mains

Question: R, a village woman aged twenty was ill-treated by her husband. There was a quarrel between the two and the husband threatened that he would beat her. Late that night, the woman, taking her six months old baby in her arms, slipped away from the house. After she had gone some distance, she heard somebody coming up behind her and when she turned around and saw that her husband was pursuing her, she got into a panic and jumped into a nearby wall with the baby in her arms. The baby died but R recovered. Decide what offences, if any, have been committed by R. [Civil Services (I.A.S.) Main Exam., 1975]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [R, a village woman aged twenty was ill treated by her husband. There was a quarrel between the two and the husband threatened that he would beat her. Late that night, the woman, taking her six months old baby in her…]

Answer

In the present case, R is guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304. The facts of the case are borrowed from the case of Emperor v. Mt. Dhirajia AIR 1940 All 486.

Section 300, I.P.C. provides that in four cases culpable homicide is always murder, subject to certain specified exceptions. The first three cases in which culpable homicide is designated as murder are all cases in which there is found a positive ‘intention’ in the doer of the act. In the present case, it is possible to attribute that R has not any positive or active intention at all to commit murder of child so these cases are refuted.

The fourth case in which culpable homicide is murder says that 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.

It is found that R must be taken to have known that what she did must in all probability cause the death of her baby. But this is qualified by the further requirement that “such act” must be “without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death….” The construction of this particular passage of Section 300 is well settled.

It is well settled that it is not murder merely to cause death by doing an act with the knowledge that it is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death. In order that an act done with such knowledge should constitute murder, it is necessary that it should be committed without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or bodily injury.

An act done with the knowledge of its consequences is not prima facie murder. It becomes murder only if it can be positively affirmed that there was no excuse. When a risk is incurred-even a risk of the gravest possible character which must normally result in death-the taking of that risk is not murder unless it was inexcusable to take it.

But looking into present facts it is not possible to say that R in jumping into this well did so without excuse. It is to consider in assessing what is an excuse or is not excuse the state of mind she was in. She feared her husband and she had reason to fear her husband.

She was endeavoring to escape from him at dawn and in the panic into which she was thrown when she saw him behind her she jumped into the well. So, she had an excuse and that excuse was panic or fright and for these reasons, R is said not to be guilty of murder under Section 300 but of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304, IPC.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. IPC Mains Questions Series Part I: Important Questions
  2. IPC Mains Questions Series Part II: Important Questions
  3. IPC Mains Questions Series Part III: Important Questions
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  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
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  10. IPC Mains Questions Series Part X: Important Questions

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