Aditya Marwah
Asked August 18, 2013

Whats the difference between Murder and Culpable Homicide?

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Whats the difference between Murder and Culpable Homicide?

Answers 2

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Kinnori

Section 299 and Section 300 Indian Penal Code, 1860, deals with the definition of culpable homicide and murder respectively. Section 299 defines culpable homicide as the act of causing death; (i) with the intention of causing death or (ii) with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death or (iii) with the knowledge that such act is likely to cause death. Section 300 IPC, however, deals with murder although there is no clear definition of murder provided in Section 300 IPC.

The academic distinction between murder and culpable homicide has always vexed the Courts. The confusion is caused, if Courts losing sight of the true scope and meaning of the terms used by the legislature in these sections, allow themselves to be drawn into minute abstractions. The safest way of approach to the interpretation and application of these provisions seems to be in focus the keywords used in the various clauses of sction 299 and section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Clause (b) of Section 299 corresponds with clauses (2) and (3) of Section 300. The distinguishing feature of the mens rea requisite under clause (2) of Section 300 is the knowledge processed by the offender regarding the particular victim being in such a peculiar condition on state of health that the internal harm caused to him is likely to be fatal, sufficient to cause death of a person in normal health or condition. It is very pertinent, to note here that, the, ‘intention to cause death is not an essential requirement of clause (2). Only the intention of causing the bodily injury coupled with the offenders’ knowledge of the likelihood of such injury causing the death of the particular victim is sufficient to bring the killing within the ambit of this clause.

The main distinction between ‘Culpable Homicide’ and ‘Murder’ is that the knowledge of offender as to degree of portability of death. Thus we often say, all murders are culpable homicides, but not vice-versa. UBR (1897-1901) Vol. 1. , 282; 1972 CrLJ 1415:1980 CrLJ 957. Hence, for easy understanding we can say, culpable homicide is genes where as murder is species. Culpable homicide is not murder unless the act by which the death is cause is done with the intention stated, in one or more of the four classes to be interpreted in the light of the four illustrations drafted by the legislators and well embedded in the Code.

Where there is an intention very clearly understood, it is treated as murder, it was laid down in AIR 1937 Rang 396:1937 Rang LR 384:171 Ind Cs 374 (FB).  

To conclude, we can understand the hairline difference between the two concept by understanding the view presented by Sir Barnes Peacock. According to him, “There are, in my opinion, several important distinctions between murder and culpable homicide. An offence cannot amount to murder unless it falls within the definition of culpable homicide, for section 300 merely points out which ‘culpable homicide’ is murder.”

Culpable homicide cannot be a murder if any concerned case falls within any of the exceptions mentioned in section 300. The causing of death by doing an act with the intention of causing death is culpable homicide. It is also murder, unless the case falls within one of the exceptions as enumerated in section 300. Causing death with the intention of causing bodily injury to any person, if the bodily injury intended to be inflicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, then it would fall within the purview of section 299, with intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death and is culpable homicide. It shall also be treated as murder, unless it falls within any of the exceptions in clause 4 of section 304 which prescribes for punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

To conclude, we could refer Som Raj @ Soma V/s State of H.P. [2013(2)ACR1688],  a latest judgment of the Apex Court, where while deciding a criminal appeal, the Court has laid stress upon the above points to draw a distinction between culpable homicide and murder.

 

 

 

Agree Comment 0 Agrees over 3 years ago

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Rutumbhara

Dear Aditya, The difference between murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder is very subtle. A great deal of caution has to be exercised in separating the two offences; A- Section 299 defines Culpable Homicide.Whoever causes death by doing an act with,Intention of causing death.Intentionally causing bodily injury which is likely to cause death.Doing act with knowledge that it is likely to cause death.B- Section 300 defines Murder.Whoever causes death by doing an act with.Intention of causing death.Causing such bodily injury as the offender knows it is likely to cause death of person.Intentionally causing bodily injury which is sufficient to cause death.Doing act with knowledge that it is so imminently dangerous and in all probability causes death. Some of the differences are as follows :1 If death is the most likely result of an act, it will be murder. If death is the likely result of an act, it will be culpable homicide not amounting to murder. 2 Culpable homicide is having an intention in one's mind to cause death to the other and causes the other person death through third person. Murder is a more serious offence here the offender directly commits the crime by causing injury to the other person. 3 The mens area or the state os mind is the key to distinguish between the two. Culpable Homicide means killing of a human being by another human being in a blameworthy or criminal manner. Murder is a type of Culpable Homicide. Rutumbhara www.lawkonect.com 09555 507 507

Agree Comment 0 Agrees almost 3 years ago

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