Discuss the conditions where culpable homicide does not amount to murder. (2017)
Category : Law of Crimes – I
Ans- Chapter XVI– section 299 to 304 dealt with culpable homicide and murder.
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.
Ingredients of S.299
1. With the Intention to causing death.
2. With the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.
3. With the knowledge that the offence likely by such act to cause death.
Section 299 defined Culpable Homicide in simple way. Culpable homicide are of two kinds:
I. Culpable homicide amounting to murder.
II. Culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Culpable homicide is the Genus, and murder is the Species. All murder are culpable homicide but not vice-versa, it has be held in Nara singh Challan v/s Sate of Orrisa (1997). Section 299 cannot be taken to be definition of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Culpable homicide is the genus, section 300 defines murder which means murder is the species of culpable homicide. It is to be noted here that culpable homicide not amounting to murder is not defined separately in IPC, it is defined as part of Murder in the section 300 of IPC.
Section 300 – Except in the cases hereinafter excepted, culpable homicide is murder, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or Culpable Homicide is not amounting to murder:
Exception 1 to 5 of s300 of IPC defines conditions when culpable Homicide is not amounting to murder: I. Provocation. II. Right of private defense. III. Public servant exceeding his power. IV. Sudden fight. V. Consent.
Exception-1-culpable homicide is not amounting to murder if the offender, whilst deprive of self control by grave and sudden provocation, caused the death of the person who gave the provocation or causes the death of any person by mistake or accident. The above exception is subject to the following provisions:- 1. The provocation is not sought or voluntarily provoked by the offender as an excuse for killing or doing harm to any person. 2. The provocation is not given by anything done in obedience to the law, or by a public servant in the lawful exercise of the powers of such public servant. 3. The provocation is not given by anything done in the lawful exercise of the right of private defense.
Provocation must be grave: upheld in Venkatesan v/s State of Tamil Nadu (1997)
1. The test of grave and sudden provocation is whether a reasonable men belonging to the same class of society as the accused, placed in the situation in which the accused was placed would be so provoked as to loss his self control. 2. In India words and gestures may also, under certain circumstances, cause grave and sudden provocation. 3. The mental background created by the previous act of the victim may be taken into consideration in ascertaining whether the subsequent act caused grave and sudden provocation for committing the offence.
1. Y” gives a grave and sudden provocation to A. A on this provocation fires a pistol at Y” neither intending nor knowing himself to be likely to kill Z, who is near him, but out of sight. A kills Z. Here A has not amounting to murder, but merely culpable homicide. 2. A attempts to pull Z’s nose, in the exercise of private defense, lays hold of A to prevent him from doing so. A is moved to sudden and violent passing in consequence kills Z. this is murder, in as much as the provocation was given by a thin done in exercise of the right of private defense.
Exceptions-2- Culpable homicide is not amounting to murder if the offender, in the exercise in good faith of the right of private defense 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 defense without premeditation, and without any intention of doing more harm than is necessary for the purpose of such defense.
Illustration- Z attempts to horsewhip A, not in such a manner as to cause grievous hurt to A. A draws out a pistol. Z persists in the assault. A believing in good faith that he can by no other means prevent himself from being horsewhipped shoots z dead. A has not committed murder but only culpable homicide.
Exceptions 3.- 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 caused death by doing an act which he , in good faith, believes to be lawful and necessary for the due discharge of this duty as such public servant and without ill will towards the person whose deaths is caused.
Exceptions 4- Culpable homicide is not amounting to murder if it is committed without premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner.
Explanation- it is immaterial in such cases which party offers the provocation or commits the first assault.
Exceptions- 5- culpable homicide is not amounting to murder when the murder whose death is caused, being above the age of 18 years, suffers death or take the risk of death with his own consent.
Scope – In Raghunath v/s State of Haryana AIR 2003 SC 165, Sc held that – It is no well settled principle of law that if two views are possible, one in favor of the accused and the other adversely against it, the view favoring the accused must be Culpable homicide amounting to murder
Section 300 also defines the circumstance when culpable homicide turn into murder which is punishes u/s 302. Under following 4 circumstances:
Intention to causing death- I. Culpable homicide turn into murder if the act by which the deaths is caused is done with the Intention of Causing death or II. If an act done with 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, or III. If it is done 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, or IV. 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 deaths or such injury as aforesaid.
A, knows that Z is suffering such a disease that a blow is likely to cause his death, strike him with the intention of causing bodily injuries. Z dies in consequence of the blow. A is guilty of murder, although the blow might not have been sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause the death of a person in a sound state of health. But if A, knowing that Z is laboring under any disease, gives him such a blow as would not in the ordinary course of nature kill a person in a sound state of health, here A although he may intend to cause bodily injury, is not guilty of murder, if he did not intend to cause death, or such bodily injury as in the ordinary course of nature would cause death.
A without any excuse fires loaded cannon into a crowd of person and kills one of them. A is guild of murder, although he may not have had a premeditated design to kill any particular individual.
In State of Rajashtan v/s Dhool Singh AIR 2004 SC 1264. SC held that – Culpable homocide becomes murder if the attacker cause an injury which he knows is likely to cause death and, of course, consequent to such injury the victim should die.
The main element which is distinguish between murder and culpable homicide is Intention or in presence of a special mens rea. If death is the most likely result of an act, it will be murder. If death is the likely result of an act, it will be culpable homicide not amounting to murder.