CULPABLE HOMICIDE

Introduction:-

Homicide is a term which originates from the Latin term ‘Homo’ means human and ‘caedere’ means killing. The act of homicide is an act that has been a part of human life since day one. Early men used to kill each other for food or creating dominance, the kings used to perform homicide to win territories and now people kill each other in the sway of jealousy, greed, etc.

Homicide is one of the most grievous act a person can commit as it is the highest order of bodily injury inflicted on a human being hence that’s why regulations regarding Homicide are really grave, for instance, culprits are usually sentenced to life imprisonment or the death penalty as these are the most extreme punishments given by the judiciary.

In India homicide is divided into two forms- Culpable Homicide and Culpable Homicide amounting to murder. Both of these have a very minimal difference but these differences prove to be very crucial for the legal system as the delivery of a fair judgment is dependent on these differences.

In this article, we’ll be discussing the third type of Unlawful Homicide, ‘Culpable Homicide’. What is culpable homicide, what are the ingredients, difference between culpable homicide and murder, punishment regarding it and certain landmark cases to prove our contentions?

Lawful and Unlawful Homicide:-
A culprit in a case of Homicide cannot always be culpable. This derives the notion of lawful homicide where the accused had a valid reason to commit the crime. In these cases, the person will not tend to be tried by the law and can also be exempted from the charges.

These can include death caused in self-defence or by mistake of fact or there was a bonafide execution of the law etc. Hence Homicide can be lawful as well as unlawful. Lawful Homicide may include justifiable and excusable homicide. Unlawful Homicide may include death by rash and negligent act (Sec 304-A), suicide (Sec 309) or culpable homicide.

Culpable Homicide:-
As mentioned before culpable homicide is a type of unlawful homicide. Laws regarding culpable homicide are enshrined in the Indian Penal Code 1862 (IPC). According to which, there are two types of culpable homicides-

Culpable Homicide not amounting to Murder (Section 299 IPC):-
It can be simply referred to as culpable homicide, this comes under the purview of Section 299 of The Indian Penal Code 1862 which states that:

An act done with the intention of causing death or causing such bodily injury which is likely to cause death or having the knowledge that he can likely by his act cause death, he’ll be committing the offense of culpable homicide.

Conditions:-
After bifurcating the definition, we get 3 conditions which have to be fulfilled to attract Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code these are-

1) The intention of causing death.
2) The intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.
3) With the knowledge that he is likely by such an act to cause death.

Case Law:-
It was held in the case of Nara Singh Challan v. State of Orissa (1997) that Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code is the genus and Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code is the species. Hence, there are no independent sections regarding culpable homicide not amounting to murder it is the part of Section 300 of IPC which defines Murder.

Culpable Homicide amounting to Murder:-
It can be simply referred to as Murder, this comes under the purview of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code 1862 which states that:

Culpable homicide is murder, if the act is done with the intention of causing death or if it is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause the death of the person or if the inflicted bodily injury is sufficient enough in the ordinary course of nature to cause death or if there is knowledge involved that the act done is so fatal that in all probability it can cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death and commits such act without any excuse.

Conditions:-
After bifurcating the definition, we get 4 conditions which have to be fulfilled to attract Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code these are-

1) The intention of causing death.
2) The intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused.
3) 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.
4) 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.

Through the perspective of Sec 299 and Sec 300 IPC the law didn’t make any distinction between the cases where the person died whether his death was intentional and unintentional. According to Section 299 and Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, there is nowhere mentioned that the intention to cause injury or death of someone or knowing the consequences of the act is with respect to a particular person only. Hence, a person who has shot someone intentionally but accidentally the bullet changes its direction killing another person, the person who fired the shot is equally liable for the death of the other person as he would have been for the person he intended to shoot.

Punishment:-
As we know there are two types of culpable homicide according to the Indian Penal Code 1862. Culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 299 IPC) and culpable homicide amounting to murder (Section 300 IPC). Hence there are two different provisions regarding the punishment for both the offences mentioned in the Indian Penal Code.

Conclusion:-
In this article, we discussed what is culpable homicide. It means causing the death of someone by an act so fatal which can likely cause death. According to the Indian Penal Code, there are two types of culpable homicide. Culpable homicide not amounting to murder. , Culpable homicide amounting to murder.

We discussed that punishment for culpable homicide amounting to murder is given under Section 302 which is either death penalty or life imprisonment as well as fine. Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder is given under Section 304 which is either imprisonment for 10 years or fine or both. It can extend to life imprisonment if there was intention present.

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