In this article we will understand the major differences between Culpable Homicide and Murder.
Section 299 and section 300 are the vast sections in the entire Indian Penal Code. They talk about the definitions of Culpable Homicide and Murder. In the scheme of Indian Penal Code, Culpable Homicide is ‘Genus’ and Murder its ‘Specie’. All Culpable homicide is not Murder but all Murder is Culpable Homicide.
The Latin term ‘Homicide’ means, ‘Killing of a human being by another human being’.
There are 2 kind of Homicide. 1. Lawful Homicide and 2. Unlawful Homicide .
What is Lawful Homicide?
In simple words, in case of lawful homicide, the culprit will be set free.
Lawful homicide further gets classified into two:
a) Excusable Homicide, and
b) Justifiable Homicide.
Blackstone defined excusable homicide as follows:
“Excusable homicide is of two sorts: either per infortunium, by misadventure; or se defendendo, upon a principle of self-preservation”
Whereas he defined justifiable homicide as follows: “Such as is owing to some unavoidable necessity, without any will, intention, or desire, and without any inadvertence or negligence, in the party killing, and therefore without any shadow of blame.
Chapter IV of Indian Penal Code deals with General Exceptions which are called Lawful Homicide.
Unlawful Homicide are –
a. Punishment of murder (Section-302)
b. Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder (Section- 304),
c. Causing death by negligence (Section- 304A), d. Suicide (Section- 305 and section 306).
What are the relevant provisions in IPC regarding Culpable Homicide?
Section 299 states “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.”Source
What are the Ingridients of section 299 of IPC–
- Intention of causing death.
- Intentionally causing bodily injury which is likely(probably) to cause death.
- Knowledge of the act which is likely to cause death.
- A knows Z to be behind a bush. B does not know it A, intending to cause, or knowing it to be likely to cause Z’s death, induces B to fire at the bush. B fires and kills Z. Here B may be guilty of no offence; but A has committed the offence of culpable homicide.
The word Murder comes from the Germanic word ‘Morth’, where it means ‘Secret killing’. Murder means when one person is killed with an intent of another person with any malice or a forethought. It can also be said as a serious offence when compared to Culpable homicide. Moreover an offence will not amount to Murder unless it includes an offence which falls under the definition of culpable homicide.
Section 300 defines Murder –
- Intention of causing death.
- Causing such bodily injury as the offender knows it is likely to cause death of a person.
- Intentionally causing bodily injury which is sufficient to cause death.
- Doing an act with knowledge that it is so a imminently dangerour and in all probability will causes death.
- A, under the influence of passion excited by a provocation given by Z, intentionally kills. Y, Z’s child. This is murder, in as much as the provocation was not given by the child, and the death of the child was not caused by accident or misfortune in doing an act caused by the provocation.
When is the death of a man to be treated as Culpable homicide or Murder?
As we all know that “All Murders are Culpable Homicide but All
Culpable homicide is not Murder”
Both Culpable homicide and Murder has the same essential that “Intention of causing death”. Then where is the Difference?
Sometimes an intentional act that causes death will not amount to murder because it comes under Exception-1 of section 300 of IPC, that culpable homicide is not murder.
And if an intentional act which fulfills the condition of section 299, but it goes with Exception-2 of Section 300 of IPC, then that act does not amount to murder.
Whoever causes death by performing an act with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death. Comparing this part of section 299 with section 300 IPC, that is if the act is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury where the offender knows that it is likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused.
Or, If the act is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury to any person and where the bodily injury intended to be inflicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.
when done with intention but not with knowledge, it will not amount to murder, and it will be culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
But even if there is an absence of knowledge and the bodily injury intended to be inflicted, in the ordinary course of nature is sufficient, it will amount to murder.
If a person causes death by doing an act with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death. If the person committing the act has the knowledge that it is so imminently dangerous that it will in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and thereby he commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid amounts to murder.
Example- A had a knowledge that if A gives very tight two-three slaps to B, an old person who is very weak, he may die due to nervous shock. And if he dies, it will be culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
But what if A start beating B so severely that blood starts coming out. Knowing that B is so weak that he will not be able to bear the pain even for a second. And if he dies, it will be culpable homicide amounting to murder.
Section-302 talks about the punishment for Murder. And Section-304 talks about the Punishments of Culpable homicide not amounting to Murder.
Section 302 in The Indian Penal Code. Punishment for murder.—Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or 1[imprisonment for life], and shall also be liable to fine.
Life Imprisonment is the rule and death penalty is the exception in an offense of murder under section 302 IPC
[Rajendra Prasad v State of UP, 1979 Cri L.JJ. 792]
Section 304 in The Indian Penal Code Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.—Whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder shall be punished with 1[imprisonment for life], or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both, if the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.
This section provides punishment in two separate degrees of culpable homicide depending upon the intention to cause death or bodily injury likely to cause death under para 1 and knowledge that is likely to cause death under para 2
What are the main points of differences?
- Culpable homicide is wider than the term murder. All murders are culpable homicide but all culpable homicides aren’t considered murder.
- Murder is an aggravated sort of culpable homicide.
- In murder, the offender features a definite knowledge that the act would end in the death while as in the case of culpable homicide the knowledge isn’t so definite.
- The probability of causing death is higher in an offense of murder than it is in the case of culpable homicide
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