The offence against the body (homicides) causing death or killing any individual is considered one of the heinous crimes under the penal law. In India, there is a lot of legislation to stop, control and punish the offender for such offence, even though the homicide rate is increasing at an alarming rate because of delay injustice and corruption in the legal system. However, the Indian Penal code, 1860 had a specific section that punished the wrongdoer for the crime of murder. The punishment-based under Section 302 of IPC are classified as capital punishment, life imprisonment and fine depending on the fact and circumstance of the case.
Section 302 of IPC has limited applicability, as it only talks about the punishment for murder, not for the all-culpable homicides. as both, the terms have a different essential element to hold the wrongdoer liable for the punishment to their respected crime. To understand the scope of these two terms as ‘all murder is culpable homicides but all culpable homicides are not murder.’ It can also be stated that culpable homicide is genus and murders is its species. Therefore, murder is a part of culpable homicide but all culpable homicide crime is not considered as murder.
Let’s learn about the meaning of the word homicide which is derived from Latin where ‘homo’ means man and ‘cide’ means cutting i.e., either the act of killing of one man by another or a man who kills another. However, the offence is divided into two types:
- Culpable homicide amounting to murder; (CHAM) and
- Culpable homicide not amounting to murder. (CHNAM)
Under Section 299 IPC defines the meaning of culpable homicide offence. The punishment for CHNAM is defined under Section 304 of the penal code in India. However, for all crimes it must have the mens rea and actus reus, this helps in distinguish whether the crime is culpable homicide or murder. In committing an act of body crime, the ‘mens rea’ can be of recklessness rather than intentional. Hence the wrongdoer shall be punished on the basis of ‘meas rea’ for murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Punishment for Murder under IPC
Section 302 is one of the most important section to punish the wrongdoer for the heinous crime of murder in the Indian Penal Code. Section 302 provides the punishment for the offence of murder. The bare reading of this section says that whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. The punishment for the accused is proportionate to the meas rea i.e., intention or motive for committing the murder. Let’s understand the essential requirement of murder which are the primary points of consideration for the court.
The essential ingredient of murder:
Section 300 define the scope and meaning of Murder under the penal law. Section 302 talks about the punishment for the crime of murder. Therefore, the essential requirement for commencement of Murder is as below:
- Causing death: There should be an intention of causing such body to injure lead to death,
- Doing an act: There should be an intention to cause such bodily injury that is likely to cause death, reasonable apprehension by the accused or
- The act must be done: with the knowledge that the act is likely to cause the death of another.
Thereafter, on the fulfilment of the above ingredient, the accused shall be liable for the punishment given under section 302 of the IPC.