Question: When does culpable homicide not amount to murder? [U.P.C.J. 2015, U.P.H.J.S. 2009, C.G.C.J. 2003, Raj J 1980]  Or When does culpable homicide amount to murder? [R.J.S. 1980, 1981] Or Distinguish between culpable homicide and murder in the light of Reg v. Govinda, I.L.R. 1876 Bomb, 342. [U.P.C.J. 1982, Haryana, 1998, R.J.S. 1969, Jharkhand J 2014, UPHJS 2007,… Read More »

Question: When does culpable homicide not amount to murder? [U.P.C.J. 2015, U.P.H.J.S. 2009, C.G.C.J. 2003, Raj J 1980] Or When does culpable homicide amount to murder? [R.J.S. 1980, 1981] Or Distinguish between culpable homicide and murder in the light of Reg v. Govinda, I.L.R. 1876 Bomb, 342. [U.P.C.J. 1982, Haryana, 1998, R.J.S. 1969, Jharkhand J 2014, UPHJS 2007, 2009, UPCJ 1984, 1996, 1998, 1999] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [ When does culpable homicide...

Question: When does culpable homicide not amount to murder? [U.P.C.J. 2015, U.P.H.J.S. 2009, C.G.C.J. 2003, Raj J 1980]

Or

When does culpable homicide amount to murder? [R.J.S. 1980, 1981]

Or

Distinguish between culpable homicide and murder in the light of Reg v. Govinda, I.L.R. 1876 Bomb, 342. [U.P.C.J. 1982, Haryana, 1998, R.J.S. 1969, Jharkhand J 2014, UPHJS 2007, 2009, UPCJ 1984, 1996, 1998, 1999]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [ When does culpable homicide not amount to murder?…]

Answer

Clauses 1-4 of Section 300 provide the essential ingredients, wherein culpable homicide amounts to murder. Section 300 after laying down the cases in which culpable homicide becomes murder, states certain exceptional situations under which, if murder is committed, it is reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder punishable under section 304, IPC and not under section 302, IPC.

The exceptions under Section 302 are:

  1. Grave and Sudden Provocation;
  2. Private Defence;
  3. Exercise of Legal Power;

The exception I – Grave and Sudden Provocation as mitigation

Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, whilst deprived of the power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation or causes the death of any other person by mistake or accident.

Exception II – Exceeding the Right of Private Defence

Exception 2 deals with those cases wherein a person exceeds the right of private defence. If the excess is intentional, the offence is murder, if unintentional, it is culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, in the exercise in good faith of the right of private defence of person or property, exceeds the power given to him by law and causes the death of the person against whom he is exercising such right of defence without premeditation, and without any intention of doing more harm than is necessary for the purpose of such defence.

Exception III – Public servants exceeding his powers

Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, being a public servant or aiding a public servant acting for the advancement of public justice, exceeds the powers given to him by law, and causes death by doing an act which he, in good faith, believes to be lawful and necessary for the due discharge of his duty as such public servant and without ill-will towards the person whose death is caused.

Exception IV — Sudden Fight

This exception applies to cases wherein death is caused in a sudden fight without premeditation in the heat of passion in a sudden quarrel; so long as the fight is unpremeditated and sudden, the accused, irrespective of his conduct before the quarrel, earns the mitigation provided for in Exception 4 to Section 300, IPC. Subject to the condition that he did not in the course of fight take undue advantage of or act in a cruel or unusual manner.

Exception V – Consent

Culpable homicide is not murder when the person whose death is caused, being above the age of eighteen years, suffers death or takes the risk of death with his own consent. A man is therefore not entitled to give up his life by consent; though consent has unquestionably the effect of mitigating the intensity of the crime, it cannot exonerate the offender.

What do you understand by culpable homicide? When does culpable homicide amount to murder and what are its exceptions?

Section 299 of IPC defines Culpable homicide as under: 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.

The following are the essentials of culpable homicide –

  1. There must be “death of a person”
  2. Death must be “caused by an act of another”
  3. The act must be “coupled with the intention of causing death”
  4. “or bodily injuries which are likely to cause death”
  5. “or knowledge which is likely that such an act would cause death”

Hence, if the above essentials are satisfied then the person is said to be committed culpable homicide.

When does culpable homicide amount to murder? [R.J.S. 1980, 1981]

Culpable homicide is murder, if the act is done with the intention of causing death or if it is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause the death of the person or if the inflicted bodily injury is sufficient enough in the ordinary course of nature to cause death or if there is knowledge involved that the act done is so fatal that in all probability it can cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death and commits such act without any excuse.

According to the definition provided under Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, there are majorly 4 essential ingredients to prove that the person is liable for culpable homicide amounting to murder. These are:

  1. The intention of causing death.
  2. The intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused.
  3. With the intention of causing bodily injury to any person and the bodily injury intended to be in­flicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.
  4. 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.

Distinguish between culpable homicide and murder in the light of Reg v. Govinda, I.L.R. 1876 Bomb, 342.

The Bombay HC in case of Reg v. Govinda, I.L.R. 1876 Bomb, 342 has very elaborately distinguished between culpable homicide and murder. According to the facts of the case, there was a quarrel between a husband and a wife in a fit of anger the husband knocked the wife. The wife became unconscious and the husband in order to wake the wife punched her with closed palms but unfortunately, the wife died because of internal bleeding in her brain. Herein, Melvil, J, held that the man was liable under Section 299 of IPC because clearly there was no intention to cause death and the act was not grave enough to cause death on the spot.

It states that:

Culpable Homicide is like a genus and murder is one of its kind, i.e., species. The former is less serious in nature when compared to the latter. The main difference lies in the intent or the mental element. That is, if an act is intentional and such it causes death and is intended towards a particular person then it is murder whereas in culpable homicide it is different.

It requires that the death be caused due to an act of the accused irrespective of whether that person had intention directed towards that particular person or not. Another difference would be that the “knowledge” is differently interpreted in both cases


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
  4. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IV: Important Questions
  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
  6. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VI: Important Questions
  7. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VII: Important Questions
  8. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VIII: Important Questions
  9. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IX: Important Questions
  10. IPC Mains Questions Series Part X: Important Questions
Updated On 2021-07-16T17:39:51+05:30
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