In India , lot of crimes happens in our current situation. Today scenario Murder and Culpable Homicide is one of the top crime list . As per Indian law, offenders must be punished. The term Murder and culpable Homicide comes under ( sec 299 to 311) in Indian penal code,1860. These two are very important topic of IPC, it’s mandatory to know the definitions because these two are similar to each other. So we know this two topic difference . What is Murder? Murder means Unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another. What is Homicide? Homicide means Killing of one human being by another. What is culpable ? Culpable means wrongful or unlawful . Finally culpable Homicide means unlawful killing of one human being by another. This article clearly explained about punishment , ingredients , exception of murder and culpable Homicide under Indian penal code,1860.

KEYWORDS: Murder, Culpable Homicide , unlawful, killing


“ Nobody own's life, but anyone who can pick up a

Frying pan own's death”

- William S. Burroughs.

• The term culpable Homicide defines under sec 299 of IPC is 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 term Murder defines under sec 300 of IPC is Except in the cases hereinafter excepted, culpable Homicide is murder, if

• the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death

• The act is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury which the offender has knowledge that it would result in death.

• The person has the knowledge that his act is dangerous and would cause death or bodily injury but still commits the act, this would amount to murder




HOMICIDE: Homicide will be killed . In Latin words Homicide divide Homo and cide. Homo means human and cide means cut. Homicide is divided into 5 categories:

1. Genocide

2. Matricide

3. Patricide

4. Feticide

5. Suicide

GENOCIDE: The deliberate killing of large group of people, especially those of particular group or whole family.

MATRICIDE: The killing of one’s mother or mother's family.

PATRICIDE: The killing of one's father or father's family.

FETICIDE: The killing of destruction or abortion of a fetus.

SUICIDE : Self killing.

Types of Homicide:

1. Lawful:-

• Excusable: When a person is pardoned or forgiven, eg. In case of infancy, accident, insanity.

• Justifiable: What the law does not prohibit it allows & what is allowed is justified by law.

2. Unlawful:-

• Making one liable either for culpable Homicide ( Sec 299) or Murder ( Sec 300).

Culpable Homicide means Unlawful killing of one human being by another. In India sec 299 in IPC, as culpable Homicide. In English Law , culpable Homicide is Manslaughter.

1.Ingredients of culpable Homicide:

• Intention or without Intention.

• Knowledge

Intention or without Intention:

i. To cause death by doing an act or by not doing an act

ii. To cause death by Bodily Injury.


i. The person have knowledge about causing death by act

2. Illustration:

(a) 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.

(b) 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

3.Punishment of culpable Homicide

According to sec 304 of IPC is Whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder shall be punished with

• Life imprisonment ( or)

• Imprisonment of either description for a term which may be extended to ten years ( or)

• Shall also be liable to fine.

Case laws

Shanmugam vs State of T.N . it was held that offences under section 304 can be considered as cognizable, non-bailable and triable by the court of sessions. In this, there arose a quarrel between the accused and the deceased in course of the quarrel the accused stabbed the deceased with a spear in the abdomen and the chest resulting in the death of the victim because of septicemia. The accused was sentenced to life imprisonment under part I of Section of IPC. If we see in the case that exception 4 under section 300 applies here. Hence, it would come under Section 299 of IPC Part I of Section 304 was attracted because it was clear from the facts that there was a clear intention to cause such bodily injury which is likely to cause death.

King emperor vs Heera joeeta In this case the accused had strike his mother on the head. He did hurt with intention to causing death. The accused was liable to culpable Homicide .

MURDER : ( SEC – 300)

Generally murder means unlawful premeditated killing of one person to another. According to sec 300 of IPC defines Culpable Homicide is Murder If The act by:

1. Intention + Injury = death

2. Intention + Injury + Insight = death

3. Injury + Insight + Incidental + Intention = death

4. Intention + Insight + Injury + excusable = death

1.Illustration :

(a)A shoots Z with the intention of killing him. Z dies in consequence. A commits murder.

(b) 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 as 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.

2. Ingredients:

 Causing death: There should be an intention of causing death,

 Doing an act: There should be an intention to cause such bodily injury that is likely to cause death, or

 The act must be done: with the knowledge that the act is likely to cause the death of another.

3. Punishment of murder :

According to sec 302 of IPC is Whoever commits culpable Homicide are amounting to murder will be punished with :

• Punished with death ( or )

• Life Imprisonment ( or )

• Shall also be liable to fine.

4.Exceptions of Murder:

When culpable Homicide is not amounting to murder is

They are five exceptions of murder:

• Provocation

• Right of private defence

• Exercise of legal power

• Sudden quarrel

• Death by consent

1. Provocation:

Essential ingredients:-

 Provocation must be both grave and sudden

 Provocation must be such as would deprive any reasonable man of his power of self control

 Act of killing must have been done when the accused had totally lost his power of self control i.e. under the immediate impulse of provocation

 The accused must not have cooled down between the provocation and the killer stroke.

 The accused must have caused the death by mistake or accident.

Illustration :-

 A is given grave and sudden provocation by C. A fires at C as a result of this provocation. A didn’t intend or have knowledge that his act is likely to kill C, who was out of A’s sight. A kills C. A is not liable to murder but is liable to culpable homicide.

2. Right of private defence:

Essential ingredients:-

 Accused caused the death of a person without premeditation.

 When the accused caused the death of a person he had no intention of doing more harm than was necessary for the purpose of defence.

Illustration :-

• X attempts to flog Y, not in a manner to cause grievous hurt to Y. A pistol is drawn out by Y, X persists the assault. Y believes that he had no way to prevent himself from being flogged by X, Y fires at X. X is liable to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.


• Nathan v. State of Madras, 1972

In this case, the landlord was trying forcefully to evict the accused. The accused killed the landlord while exercising his right to private defence. There was no fear of death to the accused as the deceased was not holding any deadly weapon that could have caused grievous hurt or death of the accused. The deceased had no intention to kill the accused, thus, the accused exceeded his right of private defence. The accused was liable to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

3. Exercise of legal power:-

Essential ingredients :-

 Accused must be a public servant.

 He must believe in good faith that the act which resulted in the death was lawful and necessary for the due discharge of his duties.

 He must not have any ill-will against the deceased.


• If the police officer goes to arrest a person, the person tries to run away and during that incident, if the police officer shoots the person, the police officer will not be guilty of murder.


• Dakhi Singh vs. State , 1955.

In this case, the appellant was the constable of Railway Protection Force, while he was on duty he killed a fireman unintentionally, while he was firing bullet shots to catch the thief. The constable was entitled to benefit under this section section’s benefit.

4. Sudden quarrel;-

Essential ingredients :-

 The act of killing was done without premeditation.

 In a sudden fight.

 In the heat of passion upon sudden general and

 Without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner.


 Radhey Shyam and Anr. V. State of Uttar Pradesh, 2018.

In this case, the appellant was extremely angry when he got to know that his calf had come to the deceased place. The appellant started abusing the deceased, when it was tried to stop him, the appellant fired at the deceased. The deceased was unarmed at that time, thus the appellant had an intention to kill the deceased, hence, he was held liable to murder.

5. Death by consent :-

Essential ingredients:-

 Deceased must be atleast 18 years of age

 He suffers death or takes the risk of death with his own consent.

 Consent must be given unconditionally which does not involve the choice of alternative.


• A instigated F who was under 18 years of age, to commit suicide. F was incapable of giving consent to his own death. Therefore, A is guilty of murder.

• X killed his stepfather Y, who was old and infirm. X killed Y with his consent. This was punishable under Section 304.

Case laws:-

Arushi Talwar case

The 14-year-old Arushi was murdered on 16th May 2008 along with Hemraj Banjade who was 45 years old then. There were a lot of suspects on the list of the accused including Arushi’s parents. This case received a lot of media coverage and aroused public interest.

For a very long time, Arushi’s parents had been held under custody. Still, it is not clear whether it was Arushi’s parents or the other two servants that worked in her house. Though Arushi’s parents have been acquitted, yet no one knows who killed Ayushi and Hemraj.

Jessica lal murder case

The case got highlighted with the heading ‘No one killed Jessica’ in the year 1999. The eyewitnesses had amnesia and there was hardly anyone who came forward to give an account of how an aspiring model was shot dead. Later people came to know that it was the businessman Manu Sharma who was refused by Jessica to serve liquor had shot her dead.

Pradyum Thakur murder case

A student of II class, Pradyum Thakur was found dead in the washroom of Ryan’s International School in Gurgaon. The kid who didn’t cause any harm was thought to have been killed over a situation of sexual assault by a bus conductor, who got arrested but later it was found that the murder was committed by a student of 11th year, whom the Court said that he will be tried as an adult.


Similarities between culpable Homicide and Murder

 Offences in IPC are defined in respect of actus reus and men’s rea

 Actus Reus of culpable Homicide and Murder is causing death

 Men’s Rea of culpable Homicide and Murder is the intention/ knowledge to cause death.

 Both Culpable Homicide and Murder result crimes.

The main points of difference between culpable homicide and murder are:

 Culpable homicide is wider than the term murder. Culpable homicide is therefore considered as the genus while as murder is regarded as a species. All murders are culpable homicide but all culpable homicides are not regarded as murder.

 Murder is an aggravated form of culpable homicide.

 In murder, the offender has a definite knowledge that the act would result in the death while as in culpable homicide the knowledge is not so definite.

 The probability of causing death is higher in murder than culpable homicide.

Case law :

Distinction between section 299 and 300 :-

Reg vs. Govinda

In this case the accused had knocked his wife down, put one knee on her chest, and struck her two or three violent blows on the face with the closed fist, producing extraversion of blood on the brain and she died in consequence, either on the spot, or very shortly afterwards, there being no intention to cause death and bodily injury not being sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. The accused was liable for culpable Homicide not amounting to murder


Every murder is considered as culpable Homicide but every culpable Homicide is not considered as Murder. Each case status is different based upon that situation . The court will decide which side will be punished under Indian Penal Code, 1860.

“ When you are go into court you are putting your fate into the hands

Of twelve people who weren’t smart enough to get out of jury duty “

- Norm Crosby


Clg name: School of excellence in law (Soel), Chennai.

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