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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SECTION 299 AND 300 OF IPC

INTRODUCTION

Culpable homicide is defined under section 299 of Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred as IPC) and Murder is defined under section 300 of IPC, are two very broad categories which provide the crime of killing anyone by the other wherein murder is provoked from culpable homicide. There always have been difficulties regarding the distinction between the culpable homicide and Murder. Both sections have very trivial difference between them. Even small misinterpretation can lead to a grave miscarriage of justice.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SECTION 299 AND SECTION 300 OF IPC

In the case of State of Andhra Pradesh v. RayavarapuPunnayya[1]  by Sarkaria , the difference between Culpable Homicide and Murder is provided as follows –

In the scheme of Penal Code, ‘culpable homicide is the genus and ‘Murder’ is the specie. All Murder amounts to culpable homicide but all culpable homicide does not amount to Murder.

In the case of Reg v. Govinda[2] it was stated that whether the offence of culpable homicide or the murder it depends on the degree of risk, if the death is likely to be caused then it is the offence of culpable homicide and if it is the most probable that death will caused then it is the offence of Murder.

  CULPABLE HOMOCIDE(SECTION 299)           MURDER(SECTION 300)
Culpable Homicide is committed by the person if the act by which the death is caused is done It is subject to some exceptions culpable homicide is murder if the act by which the death is caused

INTENSION

            With the intension of causing death; or  With the intension of causing death or;
 With the intension of causing such a bodily injury as is likely to cause death ; or       With the intension of causing such a bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused; or

KNOWLEDGE

  With the knowledge that act is likely to cause the death.With the knowledge that the act is so imminently harmful that in all probability it will cause death or such bodily injury that is likely to cause death.

In the case of Kesar Singh v. State of Haryana[3] it was seen that the knowledge denotes the bare state of conscious awareness of particular facts that in which human minds ay remain inactive or supine whereas intension cannot a conscious state in which mental faculties are roused into a activity an summed up into action for the deliberate purpose of being directed towards a specific end which the mind of human conceives and perceives before itself.

THE ESSENTIALS OF CULPABLE HOMICIDE ARE:-

  • Whoever causes death – Death means death of a person. It does not include the death of an unborn child, but it can lead to culpable homicide to cause death of a living child if any part of the child has been brought forth. However it is not necessary that the person whose death has been caused necessarily be the very person whose death was intended.
  • By doing an act – death of the person may be caused in many ways such as by poisoning, starving, drowning or transferring some shocking news etc. Act here includes illegal doings. A mistake is illegal if it be an offence and in some direction is a breach of law.

(a) Intention to cause death – Intention here means the expectation of the consequence in question. A person is charged with doing the act of which the probable consequence maybe highly injurious, the intention is inferred from the acts of the accused and it also depends on the circumstance of the case.

(b) With the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death – The intention of the wrongdoer may not be to cause death but it would be enough if he intended to cause such bodily injury which was likely to cause death of the person.

(c) With the knowledge that person is likely by such an act to cause death – Knowledge is a very strong word and it imports a certainty and not merely a probability. Here knowledge refers to the personal knowledge of the offender who does the act.

Section 304 of IPC defines punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder – the punishment is of imprisonment for life or imprisonment which may extend to ten years and also be liable to pay fine.

In the case of Kusa Majhi v State of Orissa[4]

The deceased in the case admonished her own son for not going for fishing with the co-villagers. Angry on this the accused, the son brought an axe and dealt with the many blows on her shoulder and she died. There was no pre plan of the offence from the side of son. The blows were not on the neck or head region. The accused dealt blows likely to cause such bodily injury which was likely to cause death and he dealt blows on the spur of moment and anger. Therefore it was held to be the case of culpable homicide not Murder.

In case of Ganesh Dooley Tulsa[5]

A snake charmer exhibited in public a dangerous snake, whose fangs he knew had not been extracted and to show his skills without any intention to cause harm to anybody, placed the snake on head of one of the boy. The boy trying to push off the snake was bitten and died in result. The snake charmer was held to be guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

ESSENTIALS OF MURDER ARE –

  1. Act by which the death caused is done with the intention of causing death: When the act is done with the intention of causing death, then it is called culpable homicide amounting to murder. ‘Act’ also includes illegal omissions. Death may be caused by illegal omission as well. It is the action of a man with the intention of killing a human being.
  2. With the intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause death: Second clause of Section 300, if a person intentionally causes anybody bodily injury, with the knowledge that such bodily injury will cause death of the person injured, then that act will be culpable homicide amounting to murder. In case of offence comes under clause (2) of Section 300 of IPC, the intention to cause bodily harm and next, there is the ‘subjective knowledge’ that the death will be the likely result of the intended injury.
  3. With the intention of causing bodily injury to any person – Sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death: According to clause (3) of Section 300 of IPC, it is sufficient that there is intention to cause the bodily injury that was really caused. The subjective factor ends with that. There need not to be further enquiry whether the offender has the intention or the knowledge that such bodily injury should be sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause the death.
  4. Person committing the act known that it is so dangerous that it will, in all probability, cause death, or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death: Clause (4) of Section 300 comes in the cases of dangerous action without an intention to cause specific bodily injury to anybody e.g., furious driving or firing at a target near the public place. However, the act must be done with the knowledge that the act was so dangerous that it must in all probability cause (1) death, or (2) such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

In the case of B.N. Srikantiah v. Mysore State[6]therewere as many as 24 injuries on the deceased and 21of them were incised. They were on his head, the neck, or the shoulders or on the forearms. Since, the most of the injuries were on essential parts and the weapons used were short, it was held that there was intention of causing bodily injuries, bringing it under the cover of Section 300.

THE MAIN DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CULPABLE HOMICIDE AND MURDER ARE:

  1. Culpable homicide is broader than the term murder. That’s why Culpable Homicide is considered as genus and murder is regarded as the species. All murders are culpable homicide but not all Culpable Homicides are murder.
  2. Murder is an aggravated form of the culpable homicide.
  3. In murder, the wrongdoer has a definite knowledge that the act would result in the death while in culpable homicide the knowledge is not that definite.
  4. The probability of causing death is a lot higher in murder than culpable homicide.

By-Prashant Singh

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