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Updated: Jul 31, 2021


Definition and Differences:

Section 299 deals with Culpable homicide. (Homicide means killing of man. Culpable means punishable). Killing of a person. punishable in nature, is culpable homicide. Sn. 300 deals with murder : Culpable homicide Murder

(i) Causing death:

a) with the intention of causing death, or

b) With the intention of

(ii) Killing another person:

a) with the intention of causing death, or

b) With the intention of causing such bodily injury causing such bodily injuryas is likely to cause death or, With the knowledge that the act is likely to cause death. which the offender knows to be likely to cause death or

c) With the intention of causing such bodily injury as is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, or

d) With the knowledge that the act is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death.


A keeps sticks and turf over a pit with an inten- tion to cause the death of Z. Z walks over it falls into the pit and dies.

i) A with an intention to kill Z shoots at Z several times from close quarters. Z dies. This is murder.

(ii) Z is suffering from a spleen

iii) A knows that Z is suffering disease. A does not know, from an acute spleen He hits Z. Z dies in conse- disease. He hits Z on the quence. This is culpable stomach, Z dies. This is homicide. murder,

(iii) Z is hiding behind a bush. iii) A intentionally gives a deep A hears a sound, thinks that sword cut to Z, Z dies. there is a wild animal, and This is murder. not knowing that Z is there shoots at the bush, Z dies. This is C.H.

iv) A intentional shoots at the mob with an intention to kill Z. The shot hits B, who dies. This is murder.

Justice Melwell in Govinda's case

held that if death is the likely result it is culpable homicide. But if death is most likely or certain it amounts to murder. Hence in culpable homicide, death is the probable result but in murder, it is the most probable result.

The leading cases are :

i) R.V. Gorachand Gopi

ii) Rajwant Singh V State of Kerala

iii) R.V. Govinda

iv) R .V. Beg

vi) Harinder singhV Delhi

v) Vjra Singh's case

i) R.V. Gorachand Gopi:The accused struck his wife a blow on her head with a ploughshare. She fell down. The accused thought that she was dead. He hanged her with a rope to create an impression that she has committed suicide. In fact, she died due to strangulation. He was tried for murder. The court made a distinction between culpable homicide and murder. Held accused was not guilty of murder or culpable homicide but was guilty of grievous hurt.

ii) R.V. Govinda:The accused knocked down his wife, and put his knee on her chest and dealt on her face with two or three violent blows with his fist and in consequence she died. Mehvell J made a distinction between culpable homicide and murder, and held, the accused was guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. In Vira singh's case, the accused had pierced a spear with such force that 3 coils of abdoman of D had come out. Held murder under "thirdly" in Sn 300. See Sn 300 In Harinder singh's case the accused had knifed D who had come to rescue his brother B. D died. Held culpable Homicide.

Culpable homicide is not murder in the following five circumstances:

1. Culpable homicide is not murder, if the offender being deprived of his self control by grave and sudden provocation causes the death of that person, or any other person by mistake or accident. Ex : A, under grave and sudden provocation given by Z kills Z's child intentionally. This is murder and not culpable homicide.

Exception :

a) The provocation should not have been made voluntarily by the accused himself. If he does so it will he murder.

b) It is not a provocation if it is caused to the accused as a result of a public servant exercising lawful powers over the accused.

Ex.: A is arrested by P. a Police Officer. This excited A to grave provocation and kills P. This is murder and not culpable homicide.

c) The provocation is not given by anything done in private defense.

Ex : i) A, attempts to pull Z's nose. Z in private defence holds A. A, is moved to sudden passion and kills Z. This is murder.

ii) Nanavathi case : N's wife admitted before N adultery, with one Ahuja. Then, N, went to his office took his revolver, went to Ahuja's house and killed him. Defense was 'grave and sudden provocation'. There was sufficient time between the provocation and the act of killing. The court held that this was murder and not culpable homicide.

iii) Balku's case :A and B were sleeping together outside the house. Sometime in the night B got up, went inside the house and had illegal connection wish A's wife. A saw this through an aperture. B returned and slept in his place. Thereupon A stabbed B several times and killed him. Held : Culpable homicide.

3. Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender being a public servant exceeds his legal power and causes death in good faith. The act must be lawful and necessary. There must be-no malafide intention.

4. Culpable homicide is not murder if it is committed by a person without any premeditation but in sudden fight in the heat of passion and without taking undue advantage over the other person. This is culpable homicide and not murder.

Eg. In Raju Ghosh case :There was a pitched qurrel and sudden fight between A and B. While fighting A chanced on a heavy piece of wood. He took it and hit hard B, B died. Held; this is culpable homicide and not murder.

5. Culpable homicide is not murder, when the deceased being above the age of eighteen. suffers death with his own consent.

Ex : A instigates Z below 18 commit suicide stating that life, was useless. A has abetted murder.

Other leading case for when Culpable homicide is not murder

(i) Madhavan V. St. of Kerala

(ii) Akhtar V. State

(iii) Chamru Budhwa V. St.. of M. P

(iv) Jagrup V. St. of Haryana

(v) St. of M. P. V. Ram prasad.



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