Circumstances under which murder can be reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

culpable homicide

Homicide is the highest order of bodily injury that can be inflicted on a human body. It has been the most heinous offence. Homicide means the killing of a human by a human being. However, in every case of killing one is not culpable.

In Public Prosecutor vs. S.N. Moorty, the accused had the intention in Killing A. So he offered him some sweets in which the accused had mixed poison. A ate some sweet but not total he threw it and some children picked up and ate and due to the Poison, those children died. The court held that A was liable for the death of the children but culpable homicide not amounting to murder as the accused’s intention was to kill A.

Section 299 of IPC deals with Culpable homicide not amounting to murder and Section 300 deals with culpable homicide amounting to murder. The homicide may be lawful or unlawful. Culpable homicide means death by human being is punishable by law. All murders are culpable homicide but all culpable homicide are not murders.
The important elements of culpable homicide are:
i) By doing an act.
ii) The act of death must be done

Section 300 IPC deals about a murder where a person is culpable for the death but Section 300 IPC also states some exceptions or circumstances where murder can be reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The circumstances are:

  1. Sudden and Grave Provocation: When a person loses his self-control by a sudden and grave provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation due to mistake or an accident then he will be liable for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. There are some conditions:
    i) The accused had been provoked by the deceased.
    ii) The Provocation needs to be sudden
    iii) The Provocation needs to be grave
    iv) The accused must have caused death the one who gave provocation.
    v) The accused should have not have a mala fide intention
    In K.M. Nanavati V. State of Maharashtra
    In this case, the deceased had an affair with the accused’s wife. So when the accused came to know he went to deceased to ask that is he ready to marry his wife so the deceased retorted that am I supposed to marry every woman with whom I sleep’. This statement is totally a sudden and grave Provocation which led to a struggle between two of them and the accused led to death.
  2. Self – defense: When the person has a good faith while exercising his right to Private defense of property or person exceeds the power that is given to him and thus causing the death of the person against whom he is exercising his right without any intention of doing anything more.
    In Bhanwar Singh and other v. State of M. P
    The court held that in order to take the benefit of this exception it is necessary to prove that the accused the right of self-defense against the accused and the right extends to causing the death of the person.
  3. Exercise of legal power: When any public servant authorized by the Public Servants Act for the advancement of justice exceeded their power by causing the death of person with the intention of believing to be lawful. In Dukhi Singh v. the State of Punjab the accused a constable of RPF shots a fireman unintentionally, he fired a shot in order to catch the thief who was trying to run. The court held that the constable is entitled to benefit of this exception.
  4. Sudden Fight: Sudden Fight means when the fight was unexpected and there was no intention of either of the parties to kill or cause the death of any person. In Narayana Nair V. State of Tamil Nadu, The court held that the fight must be with the person killed in order to cover the case within the ambit of this exception.
  5. Consent: When the person gives consent to cause her death, then it will be a culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
  6. There are essential requirements;
    i) The age of the person killed must be above 18 ii) Consent is given by the deceased.
    iii) Consent needs to be free or voluntary.
    In Dashrath Paswan V. State of Bihar
    Here, the deceased was 16 years to age and was abetted by the accused to commit suicide. Here the deceased was incapable to give his consent as he was below 18. So the Court held the accused was liable for murder.

There is always an exception to everything this exception is given in order to protect the accused under certain circumstances, as we know that every murder is culpable homicide but every culpable homicide is not murder.


Note: This post is the contributor’s own view and StrictlyLegal did not make any material changes to the post on publication.

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