Wednesday, 23 May 2018

SHORT NOTES ON MURDER,CULPABLE HOMICIDE AND SUICIDE




The first offence against human life is culpable homicide. The word 'Homicide' comes from latin word 'homa' means man and 'cide' means cut. Killing of a human being by another human being is homicide.
Kinds if homicide- Homicide is either lawful or unlawful. Lawful homicide includes cases falling under the general exceptions that is S 76 to S 106.

Read important judgments on Murder.
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S 299 of IPC defines culpable homicide as,Whoever causes death,
  1. with intention of causing death,
  2. with intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.
  3. With knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death.
    Explanation to S 299 of IPC.
Explanation 1:- A person who causes bodily injury to another who is labouring under a disorder,disease or bodily infirmity and thereby accelerates the death of that other,is deemed to have caused his death.
He must have known about the victim's condition and then must have accelerated his death.
Explanation 2 :- When death is caused by bodily injury, the person who causes such bodily injury is deemed to have caused the death,although by resorting to proper remedies and skillful treatment, the death might have been prevented.
Explanation 3:- The causing of the death of child in the mother's womb is not homicide. But it may amount to culpable homicide to cause death of a living child if any part of the child has been brought for forth,though the child may not have breathed or been completely born.
Murder(S 300-302)
S 300:- Culpable homicide is murder -
  1. if the act by which death is caused is done with the intention of causing death death,or
  2. if it is done with intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom harm is caused,or
  3. if it is done with intention of causing bodily injury and bodily injury intended to be afflicted is sufficient, in the ordinary course of nature to cause death,or
  4. if the offender knows that the act by which death is caused 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.
Culpable homicide is used as a generic term. All murders are culpable homicide,but all culpable homicide is not murder.
Dead body:- The mere fact that the dead body of the person who has been murdered is not found is not a ground for refusing to convict a person of murder. However in such a case, the strongest possible evidence as to the fact of murder should be forthcoming,before the accused is convicted of murder.
WHEN CULPABLE HOMICIDE IS NOT MURDER (S 300,EXCEPTIONS 1TO 5)
S 300 lay down five different circumstances under which the offence of murder is reduced to that of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Strictly speaking ,they are not exactly defences,but they are in the nature of extenuating or mitigating circumstances to be proved by accused,which will reduce the offence of murder to that of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The circumstances(exceptions to S 300 of IPC) which reduces the offence of murder to that of culpable homicide not amounting to murder are:-
  1. Grave and sudden provocation- Exception 1 to S 300 of IPC :- Culpable homicide is not murder, if the offender ,whilst deprived of the power of self control by grave and sudden provocation causes the death of the person who gave the provocation or of any other person by mistake or accident provided that the provocation-
    - is not sought or voluntarily provoked as an excuse for killing for killing or doing harm;or
    -is not given by anything done-
    a)in obedience to the law,or
    b)by a public servant in the lawful exercise of his powers;or
    c)in the lawful exercise of right of private defence.
    Whether provocation was grave and sudden enough to prevent an offence from amounting to murder is a question of fact and not of law.
  2. Exceeding right of private defence- Exception 2 to S 300 of IPC:- Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender in the exercise in good faith of right of private defence exceeds the legal limit and causes the death of person without pre-meditation and without any intention of doing more harm than necessary.
  3. Public servant exceeding his powers- Exception 3 to S 300 of IPC:- Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, a public servant (or person aiding a public servant) exceeds his legal power and causes death by an act believed by him in good faith to be lawful and necessary for the due discharge of his duty and without ill-will towards the person killed.
  4. Sudden fight- Exception 4 to S 300 of IPC:-
    Culpable homicide is not murder,if it is committed without premeditation,in a sudden fight, in the heat of passion,upon a sudden quarrel,and without taking undue advantage,or acting in a cruel manner.
  5. Death caused with victim's consent- Exception 5 to S 300 of IPC:- Culpable homicide is not murder if the person killed(being above eighteen years of age) suffers death or takes risk of death with his own consent.
What is difference between murder and culpable homicide?


 Under Indian penal code culpable homicide is a genus and murder is the species.Whether the offence is culpable homicideor murder depends up the degree of risk to human life. If death is a likely result,it is a culpable homicide; if it is the most probable result,it is murder.
S 301 of IPC:-Culpable homicide by causing death of person other than whose death was intended

S 302 of IPC:- punishment for murder:- Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine.

S 304 of IPC: Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder:-
Whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder, shall be punished with imprisonment  for life or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine,if the act by which death is caused is done with the intention of causing death ,or causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death;
or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years or with fine or with both,if the act is  done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death,but without any intention to cause death,or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

[304-A. Causing death by negligence.—Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.]

[304-B. Dowry death.—(1) Where the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury or occurs otherwise than under normal circumstances within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that soon before her death she was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry, such death shall be called “dowry death”, and such husband or relative shall be deemed to have caused her death.
Explanation.—For the purpose of this sub-section, “dowry” shall have the same meaning as in Section 2 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 (28 of 1961).

(2) Whoever commits dowry death shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than seven years but which may extend to imprisonment for life.]

305. Abetment of suicide of child or insane person.—If any person under eighteen years of age, any insane person, any delirious person, any idiot, or any person in a state of intoxication commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with death or [imprisonment for life], or imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

306. Abetment of suicide.—If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

307. Attempt to murder.—Whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge, and under such circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty of murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and if hurt is caused to any person by such act, the offender shall be liable either to [imprisonment for life], or to such punishment as is hereinbefore mentioned.

308. Attempt to commit culpable homicide.—Whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge and under such circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, he would be guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both; and, if hurt is caused to any person by such act, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.

309. Attempt to commit suicide.—Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year [or with fine, or with both].
Note : Effect of Section 309 read down vide Section 115 Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 (10 of 2017). Section 115 reads as:
115. Presumption of severe stress in case of attempt to commit suicide.—(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in Section 309 of the Penal Code (45 of 1860) any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code.
(2) The appropriate Government shall have a duty to provide care, treatment and rehabilitation to a person, having severe stress and who attempted to commit suicide, to reduce the risk of recurrence of attempt to commit suicide.”

Read Important judgment on abetment to suicide: Click here

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