Culpable Homicide (Section 299 and 300) – Notes

culpable-homicide

Section 299: Definition of 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 offence of culpable homicide.

The definition can be understood in an easy way as follows:

  1. There should be an intention to cause death or
  2. Causing such bodily injury which is likely to cause death or
  3. Causing death by action, which is in his knowledge likely to cause death



The essential ingredients of section 299 are as follows:

  1. Any person should have died
  2. The death should have been caused by such action:-
  3. There should be an intention to cause death or
  4. Such bodily injury which is likely to cause death
  5. Causing death by action which is his knowledge is likely to cause death.
  • Any person has died: When any person has died then this section applies by death we mean the death of human beings, a child in the womb of his mother is not covered.

Section 299 explanation 3:- The causing of death of the child in the mother’s womb, not homicide. But it may amount to culpable homicide to cause the death of a living child if any part of that child has been brought forth, though the child may not have breathed or been completely born,

Causing death to a pregnant woman is one human homicide and not two because a child in the womb has no identity, however any part of the alive child is out of the womb, it would constitute another homicide.

  • The death should be caused with an intention to cause death. No person can be guilty of culpable homicide unless he has an intention to cause death.

Section 299: Illustrations.

  1. A lays sticks and turf over a pit, with the intention of thereby causing death, or with the knowledge that death is likely to be thereby caused. Z believing the ground to be firm, treads on it, falls in and is killed A has committed the offence of culpable homicide.
  2. 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 bus. B fires and kills Z. Here B may be guilty of on offence, but A has committed the offence of culpable homicide.

PRABH V/S MADHYA PRADESH STATE AIR 1991 S.C. IN THIS CASE, THE – Victim has sustained servant injuries and inferences were that here was intension to cause death.



  • Causing such bodily injury where there is a possibility to cause death A person is guilty of culpable homicide if he causes such bodily injury where there is a possibility to cause death. But causing under section 300(2).

Example- when the accused made the only attempt on the victim, and in the opinion of the doctor such injury may not result in the death of a person., here the accused was held guilty of culpable homicide and not of murder.

SURAJMAL V/S STATE OF HARYANA A.I.R. 2993 SC It was held that the accused will be guilty of murder, wherein the opinion of the doctor the injuries were sufficient to cause death, – here the accused had attacked the victim by stick and one single stroke proved fatal

  • There should be knowledge that the action is taken to be probable to cause death.

Section 299 ILLUSTRATION C A, by shooting at a fowl with intent to kill and steal it, kills B who is behind a bush; A not knowing that he was there. Here although A was doing an unlawful act, he was not guilty of culpable homicide, as he did not intend to kill B or to cause death by doing an act that he knew was likely to cause death.

JALLUDDIN 1982 CR. L.J An Ojha (tantric) had beaten a girl to remove her off the ill effects of ghosts, however, she died here the Ojha was guilty of culpable homicide.

Section 300 IPC Murder

Definition: except in the cases hereinafter excepted, culpable homicide is murder.

Firstly:- If the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or-

Secondly:- If it is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender known to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused, or-

Thirdly:- 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-

Fourthly:- 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 death or such injury as aforesaid.



The essential elements of section 300:

The cause relating to the death culpable homicide is murder if the act by which the death is causing is done with the intention of causing death, or—(as given in sec300 sub-sec 1)

ILLUSTRATIONS:

  1. A shoots Z with the intention of killing him. Z dies in consequence, A commits murder.

SUBEDAR TIWARI V/S STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH A.I.R 1989 S.C. A woman was killed and the husband and his sister were persecuted. The facts of the case were that – one morning when the milkman came and called- then the door was opened then- the woman was found burned in the kitchen and the evidence was that the husband neither entered the kitchen nor he tried to be flame his wife. In the kitchen an unused stove was found, however, there were no match sticks. The woman was lying in the same position though huge flames were seen. On the body of the victim, there were three injury marks, and around her, there were some letters, which she had written to her father. Thus, it was concluded that it is not a case of suicide, but a case of murder.

Causing with the intention, such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused, or section 300 subpart 2 then the accused will be guilty of murder.

ILLUSTRATIONS: A, knowing that Z is labouring under such a disease that a blow is likely to cause his death, strikes him with the intention of causing bodily injury. 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 not knowing that Z is labouring under any disease, gives him such a blow ass 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.

The court observed that the words likely and probably have their own meaning and the difference can be drawn.

When any act is likely to occur, it can be said that it is most probable but when the accused known that the injury is probable then it is not culpable homicide.

  1. Causing such bodily injury- if it is done with the intention to inflicted as is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, or c300(3) like shooting from a pistol, which is deemed as sufficient means to cause death.

The illustration to Sec 300:- A attacks the victim with sword or sticks causing injury, in such a manner which in ordinary cause of nature can cause death to any human being and as a result B dies, here A is guilty of murder, unless it is proved that he had no intention of causing death.



  • INRI Aarudam 1990 cr. L.J. A seven years girls were three times in quick succession bashed with the ground and she died of the resultant injuries it was held that they were sufficient reasons to cause of death.
  1. What if the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.(sec 300 (4))

Section 300 ILLUSTRATION A without any excuse fires a loaded cannon into a crowd of persons and kills one of them, A is guilty of murder, although he may not have had a premeditated design to kill any particular individual.

The exception to Sec 300

  1. Exception 1: when culpable homicide is not murder – culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, whilst deprived of the power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation or causes or causes the death of any other person by mistake or avoidant.

The above exception is subject to the following provisions:

FIRST:- That the provocation is not sought or voluntarily provoked by the offender as an excuse for killing or doing harm to any person.

SECONDLY:- That the provocation is not given by anything done in obedience to the law, or by a public servant in the lawful exercise of the power of such public servant.

THIRDLY:- That the provocation is not given by anything done in the lawful exercise of the right of private defence.

EXPLANATION:- Whether the provocation was grave and sudden enough to prevent the offence from amounting to murder is a question of fact.

The appellant took the plea of the grave and sudden provocation;- the court has not accepted this plea, because there was a gap of three hours, which the court felt was sufficient time.

AJEET SINGH V/S STATE OF PUNJAB A.I.R. 1991 S.C. In the case, the accused had seen his wife with his neighbour in a compromising position, and he immediately shot the neighbour.

Cases were the benefit of the grave and sudden provocation is not available.

FIRST:- That the provocation is not sought or voluntarily provoked by the offender as an excuse for killing or doing harm to any person.

SECONDLY:- That the provocation is not given by anything done in obedience to the law, or by a public servant.

THIRDLY:- That the provocation is not given by anything done in the lawful exercise of the right of private defence.

EXPLICATION:- Whether the provocation was grave and sudden enough to prevent the offence from amounting to murder is a question of fact.

EXEMPTION UNDER SEC 300(2) Exceeding the right of private defence.

Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, in the exercise in good faith of the right of private defence of person or property, exceed the power given to him by law and causes the death of the person against whom he is exercising such right of defence without premeditation, and without any intention of doing more harm than is necessary for the purpose of such defence.

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 hers whipped, shoots Z dead. A has not committed murder but an only culpable homicide.

The expected condition to be fulfilled to are as follows:

  1. The right to private defence should have been exercised.
  2. The right should be exercised without ill will.
    • The right should be exercised without prior thought.
  1. The right should have been exercised with the intention to cause hurt.
  2. There should be encroachment over the right to private defence.

ILLUSTRATION:-

BHAGWAAN SWAROOP V/S MADHYA PRADESH STATE 1989 CR. L.J. The accused had shot dead the person. The humble Supreme Court had held that case is covered under sec 300(2) because the accused had opened fire to save his father who was being attacked by sticks and in order to save his father the accused had opened fire.

Section 300(3) public servant exceeding his power. Exception3 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 power given to him by law, and causes death by doing an act which he, in good faith, believes to be lawful and necessary for the due discharge of his duty as such public servant and without ill-will towards the person whose death is caused.



The expected conditions:

  1. The person who has exceeded his authority should be a public servant an assistant to the public servant.
  2. Such use of power should have been executed without any ill will.

Death should have been caused without any intention.

DHAKI SINGH V/S STATE 1955 ALL A policeman arrested a person mistaking him to be a thief. While taking the thief in his jeep the person jumped from the jeep with the intention to run away. The police officer fired at the person and the succumbed to his injuries.

It was held that the police officer was guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Section 300 exception 4:- sudden fight – culpable homicide is not 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.

The expected conditions:

  1. The fight should be sudden.
  2. The fight should be without any prior meeting of minds.
    • The fight should be with the deceased.
  3. The accused should not have exhibited any show of cruelty or obtained any undue profit.

It was held that the case is covered under sec 300(4)

Section 300 exceptions 5:- culpable homicide is not murder when the person whose death is caused, being above the age of eighteen years, suffers death or takes the risk of death with his own consent.

The expected conditions:-

  1. The deceased must have given his permission
  2. The deceased must be above the age of 18 years.
  • Such consent should have been obtained freely without any cohesion.

DASRATH PASWAN V/S BIHAR STATE A.I.R. 1952 S.C. A person had appeared 10 std thrice without success. He was disillusioned with life and he expressed his intention to commit suicide to his wife aged 19 years. She expressed to die first. Accordingly, the accused killed her but before he could commit suicide he was caught.

It was held that the accused was of criminal human slaughter thus Sec 300 (5) was attracted and he was held guilty of culpable homicide.

Related Post: Of The Right Of Private Defence – Notes

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