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Culpable Homicide and Murder

Homicide is an important legal term which is coined from the Latin word Homicida. ‘Homo’ means human and ‘cida’ means killing. Homicide is one of the most heinous act an individual can carry out as it is the most noteworthy order of bodily injury perpetrated on a person subsequently that is the reason guidelines, rules and regulations with respect to Homicide are truly grave, for example, guilty person or the culprit are generally sentenced to life imprisonment or capital punishment as these are the most outrageous punishments given by the judiciary.

In India, homicide is partitioned into two structures Culpable Homicide (Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code) and Culpable Homicide amounting to murder (Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code). Both of these have a minimal difference however these distinctions end up being important for the legal framework as the conveyance of a reasonable judgment is subject to these distinctions.

Lawful Homicide

A culprit for a situation of Homicide can’t always be chargeable. This infers the idea of legal homicide where the accused had a valid reason to carry out the wrongdoing or crime or an act. In these cases, the individual won’t, in general, be charged by the law and can likewise be exempted from the charges.

Unlawful Homicide

These are the deaths caused in self-protection of self-defence or mistake of fact or if there was a bonafide execution of the law and so on. Thus Homicide can be legitimate just as unlawful. Lawful Homicide may incorporate reasonable and excusable murder. Unlawful Homicide may incorporate death by rash and careless act (Sec 304-A), suicide (Sec 309) or at culpable homicide.

  • Culpable homicide amounting to Murder or Murder

It is governed by Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1862. It amounts to the act done with the intention to cause the death of an individual or an act committed in such a manner to cause a bodily injury leading to the death of such a person. Knowledge shall be involved in the fatal act done so that in all circumstances it can cause death or any such bodily injury as is likely to cause the death on the individual and commits such act without any justification. Essentials for culpable homicide amounting to murder-

  • Intention to cause death or any bodily injury that causes the death of the person
  • Knowledge of the fact that the act committed can cause the death of the individual
  • Sufficiency of the act in the ordinary course of nature to cause the death of an individual

Example
Anand Vibhor is aware that Bansi Lal has a tumour in his brain and he hits him over and over with a baseball bat on his head with the intention of causing death, and Bansi Lal dies subsequently. Anand Vibhor is liable for culpable homicide amounting to Murder.

Momina shoots Raju with a gun on the point-blank range with intention to cause death, and Raju dies subsequently. Momina is guilty of culpable homicide amounting of Murder.

Aman started firing a machine gun in a crowded mall. There is an intention of causing death, not of a particular person but causing deaths in general. He subsequently killed 10 people. Aman is guilty of Murder

Exceptions

Culpable homicide amounts to murder when the act is finished with the sole aim of causing death however in the cases referenced below this guideline doesn’t have any significant bearing. The following items can add up to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. exceptions in some cases 1-5 in the (d) and (f) representations of area 300 of the IPC defines conditions when culpable homicide does not add up to the murder, these are as per the following-

  • It is not culpable homicide amounting to murder in the events that it is carried out by an individual who gets deprived of the power of self-control and causes the death of an individual on account of a grave, sudden or abrupt provocation.
  • It is not a culpable homicide when the guilty party causes the death of somebody while practising his right of private defence of an individual and property in compliance with the good faith.
  • It is not a culpable homicide amounting to murder if a public official causes somebody’s death while performing his obligations and in compliance with good faith and he accepts that his acts were legal.
  • It is not a culpable homicide amounting to murder if an individual causes the death of somebody who commits it in an unexpected fight in the heat of the moment upon an abrupt or sudden fight.
  • It is not a culpable homicide not amounting to murder when an individual endures death with his own assent or his own consent when he is above 18 years old.
  • Culpable homicide not amounting to murder

It is governed by section 299 of Indian Penal Code, 1862. An act committed with the intention of causing the death of an individual or causing such a bodily injury which is likely to cause the death of an individual or having the knowledge that he can likely by his act cause the death of such person, he’ll be charged with the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Essentials to attract section 299-

  • The intention of causing the death of an individual.
  • Causing such a bodily injury which is likely to cause death.
  • The knowledge that one is likely by such an act can cause the death of the person.

Example
Alia was not aware that Badri has a tumour in his brain, and he hits him hard on the head with a Baseball bat, with the intention of initiating death or with the knowledge that death is likely to happen. Badri dies because of the bursting of the tumour. Alia is guilty for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Ameen digs a deep pit and covers it with grass, with the objective of causing death or with the knowledge that death is likely to be caused. Zayra thinking it as a hard ground tries to stand on it and dies. Ameen is guilty of Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder.

Arpit paid a driver to knock his truck on the car of Balashri, he committed an act with the intention of initiating death or with the knowledge that death is likely to be caused. Balashri left to the market to buy some groceries. The truck slams with his car, Balashri dies. Arpit is guilty of Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder.

The impression of ‘culpable homicide by causing the death of a person other than the person whose death was intended’ is embedded in Section 301 of the Indian Penal Code which simply states that: A person who commits culpable homicide when he causes the death of another person while trying to kill the other person. Here the intention of the person who murdered any other person whom he didn’t want to kill or hurt is not considered. It is also considered as the principle of shifted intent or shifted knowledge or doctrine of the transfer of malice.

Punishment

  • Section 302 in the Indian Penal Code. Punishment for murder says that whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • Section 304 in the Indian Penal Code. Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder is [imprisonment for life], or imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and he/she shall also be made liable to pay the fine if an act by which causes the death and such death is caused with the intention of specifically causing the death of another person or an individual, or causes a bodily injury which is likely to cause the death of an individual, or with imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both, if the criminal act is done with the knowledge that the act is likely to cause death, but essentially without any intention to cause the death of an individual, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.‘

Difference between ‘Culpable Homicide’ and ‘Murder’

In the case of Reg. v. Govinda, a clear difference was drawn between culpable homicide and murder. There was a fight between a husband and a wife in a fit of rage the husband thumped the wife. The wife became unconscious and the husband in order to wake the wife hit her with closed palms but unfortunately, the wife died because of internal bleeding in her brain. It 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 momentous enough to cause death on the spot.

All murders are culpable homicide but not all culpable homicides are murders‘. Murder is basically an aggravated form of culpable homicide. differences between them-

MURDER (SECTION 300) CULPABLE HOMICIDE (SECTION 299)
Culpable homicide is considered as murder if the act due to which the death is caused is committed with the intention of causing death. Whoever causes the death of an individual by doing an act with the intention of causing the death of a person, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause the death of an individual, or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause the death of an individual, is said to commit the offence of culpable homicide.
There is an element of knowledge about the nature of act and intention to commit murder. Here, the use of word likely proves that intention and knowledge are not the key elements to prove a homicide.
The degree of causing death is higher in murder.  The degree of causing death is comparatively low in the act of culpable homicide.
It is a more specific or narrow concept as compared to homicide in general. It is a wide and a broad concept.

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