Question: A while driving his car in a rash and negligent manner causes the death of B, C, D, and E at different points of the same road on the same night. The prosecution alleged that it is a case of commission of offenses under Section 304 of IPC. It is argued on behalf of the accused that… Read More »

Question: A while driving his car in a rash and negligent manner causes the death of B, C, D, and E at different points of the same road on the same night. The prosecution alleged that it is a case of commission of offenses under Section 304 of IPC. It is argued on behalf of the accused that the case falls under the ambit of Section 304A of IPC. Which fact would be relevant to determine negligence, intention, or knowledge of the accused of commission of aforesaid offense? Discuss. [MPHJS...

Question: A while driving his car in a rash and negligent manner causes the death of B, C, D, and E at different points of the same road on the same night. The prosecution alleged that it is a case of commission of offenses under Section 304 of IPC. It is argued on behalf of the accused that the case falls under the ambit of Section 304A of IPC. Which fact would be relevant to determine negligence, intention, or knowledge of the accused of commission of aforesaid offense? Discuss. [MPHJS 2010, UPHJS 2012]

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Answer

To constitute an offense punishable under Section 304-A IPC, it is necessary that the death is caused by rashness or negligence.

In Naresh Giri v. the State of M.P. reported as (2008) 1 SCC 791 to determine whether the act of the accused was rash and negligent the court observed that:

Section 304-A IPC applies to cases where there is no intention to cause death and no knowledge that the act is done, in all probabilities, will cause death. This provision is directed at offenses outside the range of Sections 299 and 300 IPC. Section 304-A applies only to such acts which are rash and negligent and are directly the cause of death of another person. Negligence and rashness are essential elements under Section 304-A.

If a person willfully drives a motor vehicle into the midst of a crowd and thereby causes death to some person, it will not be a case of mere rash and negligent driving and the act will amount to culpable homicide. Doing an act with the intent to kill a person or knowledge that doing an act was likely to cause a person’s death is culpable homicide. When the intent or knowledge is the direct motivating force of the act, Section 304-A has to make room for the graver and more serious charge of culpable homicide.

Negligence and rashness to be punishable in terms of Section 304-A must be attributable to a state of mind wherein the criminality arises because of no error in judgment but of deliberation in the mind risking the crime as well as the life of the person who may lose his life as a result of the crime.

Section 304-A discloses that criminality may be that apart from any mens rea, there may be no motive or intention still a person may venture or practice such rashness or negligence which may cause the death of other. The death so caused is not the determining factor.

In the present case, A while driving his car in a rash and negligent manner causes the death of B, C, D, and E at different points of the same road on the same night is said to have caused the offense under culpable homicide punishable under Section 304. The reason being that while driving his car has hit 4 different persons at different points of the same roadshows that he had knowledge that driving so rashly is likely to cause the death of a person.

Even though the death of B was by rash and negligent act of A, the fact that he still didn’t come into prudent sense and chose to drove rashly on the road, resulted in the death of other persons as well. We can say here that though A had no specific intention to kill someone but had sufficient required knowledge of his actions and so he is punishable for culpable homicide under Section 302.

Here:

  • A had no intention to kill B, C, D, E
  • But he had knowledge of his act, given what facts suggest he hit 3 other persons after hitting B. When subjective knowledge is present, it is not a rash or negligent act
  • He is thus liable for culpable homicide.

Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

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  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
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Updated On 2021-07-21T08:36:14+05:30
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