A wants to kill B with arsenic poison and with that purpose he administers sugar to him in food, believing the sugar to be arsenic. Discuss the liability of A.

By | July 20, 2021
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Question: A wants to kill B with arsenic poison and with that purpose he administers sugar to him in food, believing the sugar to be arsenic. Discuss the liability of A. [U.P.C.J. 1992]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [A wants to kill B with arsenic poison and with that purpose he administers sugar to him in food, believing the sugar to be arsenic. Discuss the liability of A.]

Answer

X has committed no offence in the present case. In the present case, A has an intention to kill B but in furtherance of the intention, he does nothing that may cause the death of B. He administers sugar in food believing the sugar to be arsenic which can’t cause B’s death.

To constitute a criminal act intention should be coupled with some action that would result in a crime. According to Section 307, an act committed must be capable of causing death. Illustration (d) of section 307 is sufficient to illustrate it. 

Illustration (d): A, intending to murder Z by poison, purchases poison and mixes the same with food that remains in A’s keeping; A has not yet committed the offence defined in this section. A places the food on Z’s table or delivers it to Z’s servant to place it on Z’s table. A has committed the offence defined in this section.

So, in the given problem A has committed no offence because sugar can’t cause anyone’s death.

Section 307 deals with the offence of an attempt to commit murder. The question of whether a certain act amounts to the commission of a particular offence is a question of fact dependant on the nature of the offence and the steps necessary to take, in order to commit it.

The word ‘intention’ and the term ‘knowledge’ used in Section 307, IPC, refer to knowledge as found in s 300, cl (4). The term ‘knowledge’ refers to the ‘knowledge of the offender that the act done by him is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death or such bodily injury, as is likely to cause death.

In Liyakat Mian v. State of Bihar [AIR 1973 SC 807], the accused shot a person from very close quarters causing injuries on the abdomen and the left arm. It was held that from these circumstances, the knowledge that the injury caused by him would result in death could be imputed to the accused. The accused was convicted under Section 307, IPC.

However, in the present case the A thought had the intention to kill but his act was in fact not criminal per se and he had no correct knowledge that the actual administration of sugar by him is so imminently dangerous that it will cause death or bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

In this case, the defendant placed a substance believing it to be of poisonous nature in such a quantity when actually it was not. So, A has committed no offence as under Section 307, IPC.


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