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Murder And Culpable Homicide, Difference Between Murder And Culpable Homicide


[2]The word Murder comes from the Germanic word morth, which literally means hidden slaying. A murder occurs when one person is slain by another or a group of people with the premeditated aim of ending the former's life. A crime is not considered murder unless it contains an act that qualifies as culpable homicide under the IPC definition. All killings are culpable, but not all murders are. Murder is addressed in sections 299 and 300 of the Indian Penal Code.

Culpable Homicide [3]

Culpable homicide is defined as causing death by doing anything with the goal of causing death or inflicting physical damage that is likely to cause death, or knowing that he is likely to cause death by doing something like that. [4] It is classified into two types:
  1. Culpable Homicide amounting to Murder
  2. Culpable Homicide does not amount to Murder.

[5]Section 300 IPC: Murder

The following is taken from Section 300 of the IPC: 300. Murder:
  1. Except in the situations set out below, culpable homicide is murder if the act that results in death is performed with the purpose to cause death, or
  2. (Secondly) -If it is done with the goal of inflicting physical injury that the perpetrator knows will result in the death of the person who is harmed, or
  3. (Thirdly) -If it is done with the aim of inflicting physical damage on another person, and the bodily injury intended is sufficient to cause death in the regular course of nature, or
  4. (Fourthly) -If the person who conducts the act is aware that it is so risky that it must, in all likelihood, result in death or physical harm that is likely to result in death, and commits the act without any justification for risking death or injury as stated.

According to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, negligent homicide is constituted murder if:
  1. The act is carried out with the goal of causing death.
  2. The conduct is carried out with the goal of causing physical harm to which the criminal is aware will result in death.
  3. If a person is aware that his act is risky and likely to result in death or physical damage but yet goes ahead and does it, this is considered murder.

Murder's Ingredients [6]

  • Causing death: It must be done with the goal of causing death. [7
  • Performing an act: There must be a purpose to cause physical injury that is likely to result in death or serious injury.
  • The act must be performed with the awareness that it would likely result in the death of another person.

Culpable Homicide [8]

Culpable homicide - 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 offense of culpable homicide.

The accused in [9] Reg. v. Govinda had pushed down his wife, kept a knee on her breast, and struck her in the face with two to three hard blows with his clenched fist. Blood extraversion occurred on her brain as a result of this conduct, and the wife died as a result. The act was not done with the goal of causing death, and the bodily harm was not severe enough to induce death in the natural world. The defendant was charged with culpable homicide but not murder.

The purpose is the difference between murder and culpable homicide. The offense is considered to be committed under Section 300 of the IPC if the intention is present. If there is no intent, the offense is prosecuted under Section 304 of the IPC.

Difference between Culpable Homicide & Murder [10]

The goal behind the act is shown by the thin line. All homicides are accountable, but the opposite is not true. This issue as to which case would fall under which category has been a recurrent matter before courts ever since the IPC was adopted. On the surface, the relevant sections of the Code appear to classify the situations into two groups, but when it comes to real implementation, the courts are frequently presented with this quandary. Murder is a factual matter.

This uncertainty arises when it is difficult to determine from the evidence whether the aim was to inflict just bodily damage, which would not constitute a murder offense, or if there was a clear intention to kill the victim, which would be a murder offense. The most perplexing component is 'aim,' because the intention in both sections is to inflict death. As a result, you must examine the degree of criminal intent of the perpetrators.

If a person is killed cold-bloodedly or with premeditation, it is considered murder since the intent to kill is high and not motivated by wrath or provocation. Culpable Homicide, on the other hand, is defined as a death that occurs without prior preparation, in an unplanned conflict, or in an unplanned outburst of rage as a result of someone's provocation or instigation. As a result, determining whether the act was culpable homicide or murder is a matter of fact.

In [11]State of A.P. v. R. Punnayya,, Sarkaria J. succinctly stated the contrast between the two: "In the framework of the Penal Code, 'culpable homicide is genus and murder is specie." All'murders' are 'culpable homicides,' but not the other way around. 'Culpable homicide' without special features of murder' is a culpable homicide that does not amount to murder. The IPC realistically recognizes three degrees of culpable murder for the purpose of determining a penalty appropriate to the seriousness of this general offense.

Culpable Homicide Is Not Considered Murder In Exceptions To Section 300 Of The IPC

Section 300, clauses 1-4, gives the necessary conditions for culpable homicide to be considered murder. After establishing the circumstances in which culpable homicide becomes murder, Section 300 specifies some extraordinary circumstances in which murder is reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder punishable under section 304, IPC, but not under section 302, IPC.

The following are the exceptions:
  • The provocation that is grave and unexpected
  • Private legal representation
  • Exercising legal authority
In the event of a spontaneous fight, there will be no premeditation, and in the case of passive euthanasia, there will be no consent.

An Extremely Sudden And Grave Provocation

If the offender loses his or her ability to control his or her actions as a result of a sudden and grave provocation, and his or her actions result in the death of the person who provoked him or another person by accident or error.

This exception is subject to the following condition:
  • That the provocation is not sought or is voluntarily instigated by the criminal in order to justify murdering or harming the victim
  • That the provocation is not caused by something done in accordance with the law, or by a public official acting legitimately in the capacity of a public servant.
  • That the provocation is not carried out in the course of a valid exercise of one's right to self-defense.

For Discussion Cases/Judgments

K.M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra, 1961: [12]

In this case, the Supreme Court went over the law of provocation in India in great detail.

The court made the following observation:
The criteria for sudden and grave provocation is whether a reasonable individual from the same society as the accused would have been so provoked as to lose his self-control in the same position as the accused.

In some situations, words and gestures may cause an accused to be provoked in a way that causes his behavior to be excused.

The victim's mental history might be considered, as well as his earlier actions, to determine if the following conduct leads to sudden and grave incitement for committing the crime.

The deadly strike should clearly trace the impact of passion resulting from the quick and terrible provocation. It should not be done after the provocation has cooled off owing to the passage of time since this would allow the accused to change the evidence.

Muthu V. State Of Tamil Nadu [13]

The Supreme Court ruled in this instance that repeated harassment might rob someone of their ability to self-control, akin to a sudden and grave provocation.

When A Person's Right To Private Defense Is Exceeded

When an act is undertaken in order to protect oneself from additional injury, it is considered to be an act of private defense. If an accused knowingly abuses his right to private defense, he may be charged with murder. If it was inadvertent, the accused will be charged with culpable homicide, which is not the same as murder.

Nathan V. State Of Madras, Air 1973 Sc 665 [14]

In this instance, the landlord was attempting to remove the accused by force. While exercising his right to private defense, the accused killed the landlord. The accused had no fear of death since the deceased was not in possession of any lethal weapon that might have caused serious injury or death to the accused. Because the dead had no intention of killing the accused, the accused's right to private defense was violated. The defendant was charged with culpable homicide but not murder.


Murder Punishment - Section 302, IPC

Murder is punished by death or life imprisonment, as well as a monetary penalty.

If any of the five exceptions listed in Section 300 apply, culpable homicide is not considered murder. The penalty for a negligent homicide that does not amount to murder is described in Section 304 of the IPC as follows:

Imprisonment for life or for a term of up to 10 years, with or without a fine.

Expression Meaning: Beyond Reasonable Doubt

It must be a real and reasonable doubt for doubt to stand in the way of a conviction of guilt. If the evidence leaves the trial judge in doubt, the ruling must be in favor of the side that bears the burden of proof. It is the adjudication tribunal's obligation to acquit the accused if the adjudication tribunal's thinking is evenly divided on whether or not the accused is guilty.

In Imposing The Death Penalty, Examining The Rarest Of The Rare Case

The concept started in [15] Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, which limits the broad discretion of the court in inflicting the death penalty, is the rarest of the rare cases. Death was changed from being a normal rule to only being granted in rare situations, and only after noting the unique cause for inflicting the ultimate penalty, which cannot be reversed under any circumstances after it has been carried out.

While the concern for human life, the standards of a civilized society, and the desire to rehabilitate the criminal have attracted the attention of the courts, the phrase "rarest of the rare" case has yet to be defined. The death penalty must be imposed based on the criminal's actions rather than the crime committed. The idea of proportionality of punishment in relation to the offense, the victim, and the perpetrator has been the focus of the courts' attention.

As previously stated, the boundary between murder and culpable homicide is razor-thin. The courts have tried time and time again to distinguish between the two acts, despite the fact that the final effect is the same, with the intention behind the offense being the most crucial component to examine. The prosecution's whole case can be built on a single point, namely intention, while the defense can demolish the prosecution's entire case by establishing no intention.

Table of Cases:
  • Reg. v. Govinda
  • State of A.P. v. R. Punnayya
  • K.M. Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra, 1961
  • Muthu V. State Of Tamil Nadu
  • Nathan V. State Of Madras
  • Bachan Singh v. the State of Punjab
Book Referred:
  • K.D.Gaur
Sights Referred
  1. Section 300 of Indian Penal Code.
  3. Section 299 of Indian Penal Code
  5. Section 300 defines Muder in Indian Penal Code
  6. Murder Ingridents are also defined under the Section 300 of Indian Penal Code
  8. Defined Under Section 299
  9. Citation (1877) ILR 1 Bom 342
  11. (1976) 4 SCC 382
  12. AIR 1962 SC 605)
  13. (2007) 12 SCALE 795
  14. AIR 1973 SC 665
  15. 1980) (2 SCC 684
  1. Culpable homicide versus Murder
  2. Difference Between Culpable Homicide Not Amounting To Murder And Culpable Homicide Amounting To Murder
  3. A Comparative Study On Murder And Culpable Homicide

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