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 (Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code) and Culpable Homicide amounting to murder (Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code). 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.
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.
After bifurcating the definition, we get 3 conditions which have to be fulfilled to attract Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code these are-
- The intention of causing death.
- The intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.
- With the knowledge that he is likely by such an act to cause death.
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.
After bifurcating the definition, we get 4 conditions which have to be fulfilled to attract Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code these are-
- The intention of causing death.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Exceptions to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code 1862
Culpable homicide amounts to murder when the act is done with the intention of causing death but in the cases mentioned below this principle doesn’t apply. The following acts can amount to culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Exceptions 1-5 in the (d) and (f) illustrations of section 300 of the IPC define conditions when culpable homicide is not amounting to murder, these are as follows-
- It is not culpable homicide amounting to murder if it is committed by a person who gets deprived of the power of self-control and causes the death of someone because of a grave and sudden provocation.
- It is not culpable homicide amounting to murder when the offender causes the death of someone while exercises his right of private defense of person and property in good faith
- It is not culpable homicide amounting to murder if a public servant causes someone’s death while performing his duties and in good faith and he believes that his acts were lawful.
- It is not culpable homicide amounting to murder if a person causes the death of someone commits it in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel
- It is not culpable homicide amounting to murder when a person suffers death with his own consent when he is above 18 years of age.
Ingredients of Murder-
- 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.
Punishment for murder (Section 302)-
The punishment for murder is provided under Section 302 of IPC. Under this section whoever commits murder is punished with:
- Life imprisonment
Punishment for Culpable Homicide (Section 304)-
Culpable homicide is not murder if it falls under any one of the five exceptions given under Section 300. Section 304 of IPC describes the punishments for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, that is:
- Imprisonment for life,
- Imprisonment for either description of a term extending up to ten years,
Punishment for murder by life-convict (Section 303)-
Life convict is a person who is found guilty of a crime and is sentenced to life imprisonment by the Court. Section 303 provides that if any person commits murder who is sentenced with life imprisonment shall be punishable to death. Section 303 is only applicable to the person who is convicted under section 302 read with Section 34 or Section 302 read with Section 149. Section 303 makes capital punishment necessary for the person who is convicted for life imprisonment commits murder.
Dowry Death (Section 304 B)-
Section 304 of IPC states that if within seven years of marriage a woman dies by a bodily injury or burns, or it is revealed that before the marriage the woman was exposed to cruelty or harassment by her husband or by any other relative of her husband, in connection to the demand of dowry then the death of the woman will be considered as the dowry death.
The punishment for Dowry death is imprisonment for a minimum of seven years or a maximum of imprisonment for life.
Attempt to murder (Section 307)-
Section 307 of IPC deals with an attempt to murder. Whoever commits an act with an intention or knowledge and under such circumstances, that causes the death of the person would be held guilty of murder and shall be punished with imprisonment for a term that can extend up to ten years, and shall be liable to fine, and if that act causes hurt to a person, the offender shall be liable to imprisonment for life, or such other punishment as decided by the Court of law.
The Court awards death penalty only in rarest situations only in cases where the accused is a threat to the society aa the Court understands the value of life. The Court has all the rights and power to reduce the punishment.