CULPABLE HOMICIDE

ABSTRACT

Culpable Homicide refers to any act which done with the intention of causing death or causing a grave injury which is likely to cause death. The first part of this article would deal with the basic introduction on what is Culpable Homicide, what are the various essentials of Culpable Homicide and what is the Punishment for Culpable Homicide. Murder refers to an act which causes the death or is likely to cause the death of an individual. The second part of this article would deal with the introduction to murder then would move forward to Exception to Murder and then Punishment for murder.

CULPABLE HOMICIDE

Culpable Homicide is defined as “act an in which whoever causes death of an individual with the intention of causing the death or with an intention of causing a grave bodily injury which is likely to cause the death of the injured individual or with the knowledge that the act may lead to cause death”.[1]

As stated in the case of “KusaMajhi vs State of Orissa”[2]the deceased warned her child that he shouldn’t go for fishing with the villagers. The infuriated son bought an axe and deals some serious blows on the deceased shoulder. The Hon’ble court said that as any of the blows were not on head or neck region but it was likely that the blows caused a bodily injury that would lead to death. As there was no pre-plan offence, the court referred this as a Culpable Homicide because it was done in the influence of anger

Essentials of Culpable Homicide

  • “BY DOING THE ACT”

Death can be caused in many ways which includes poising, starving, drowning or communication of shocking news. Acts in these cases usually includes illegal omissions.

  • “INTENTION OF CAUSING DEATH

The intention is referred to as an expectation of a consequence that is in a question. When an individual is charged with an act that’s consequence could be hazardous, then the intention is inferred from the acts of that individual and circumstances of the case.

  • “WHOEVER CAUSES DEATH”

Death here refers to the death of a human being. It does exclude the passing of an unborn child, yet it might add up to at-fault crime to cause the death of a living child if any piece of the child has been delivered. Anyway, that individual whose death has been caused must be the very individual whose demise was expected.

  • “WITH AN INTENTION OF CAUSING BODILIY INJURY THAT MAY CAUSE DEATH”

If the bodily injury caused by an individual is sufficient to likely cause the death of the other individual, then it would be inferred that the there was an intention to cause the death of that individual on whom the injury is inflicted.

In the case of “Ganesh Dooley Tulsa”[3]a snake charmer exhibited a poisonous snake and the fangs of snake were not extracted. For just to show case his skills and without the intention of causing any harm or bodily injury. To showcase his skills he placed the snake on the head of a spectator. When the spectator tried remove the snake from his head then snake bit the spectator and the spectator died. The snake charmer was held guilty for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

PUNISHMENT FOR CULPABLE HOMICIDE

“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 the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or of 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”.[4]

MURDER 

A murder is defined as an “act of the act by which death is caused with the intention of causing death or the act is done with the intention of causing a bodily injury which the offender knows could lead to the death of the person on whom the harm is caused or the individual commits the act which he knows that it could be dangerous that it may cause death or a bodily injury that could lead to death and commits an act without an excuse for incurring risk of causing bodily harm or death”.[5]

EXCEPTIONS OF MURDER

SUDDEN AND GRAVE PROVOCATION

When a person loses his/her self-control by the grave and sudden provocation, causes death or a bodily injury of a person who provoked the any other person due to mistake or by any accident would be held liable for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

As stated in the case of “SuljinaDhan vs State of Assam”[6] the Court held that the death was the result of a sudden and grave provocation to the wife by the husband and in rage she killed her husband with an axe. The court said that the wife would be liable culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

WHEN AN INDIVIDUAL EXCEEDS HIS RIGHT OF SELF DEFENCE

A person in a good faith has a right to exercise the right of private defence of person or property. If somehow the power of right to self defence exceeds its limit and causes the death of the person against whom it was used. Then the person would be held liable for culpable homicide.

As stated in the case of “Bhanwar Singh vs State of Madhya Pradesh”[7] the court reject the plea for using the exception of right of self defence as a defence as the court held that but more harm was caused which lead to the death of the other person

SUDDEN FIGHT

Sudden fight means a fight that was unexpected and there was no intention of either party to kill or cause death of any person. It is immaterial to the fact that who assaulted whom first.

ESSENTIAL REQUIREMENTS

  • The fight should be a sudden fight
  • The fight should be in the heat of passion without any existence of any plan or malice
  • The offenders should not take any kind of unfair advantage
  • The offenders must not act on an unusual or a cruel manner
  • The fight should only be between the accused and the person who has been killed

PUNISHMENT FOR A MURDER

“Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or (imprisonment for life), and shall also be liable to fine”.[8]

“Whoever, being under sentence of (imprisonment for life), commits murder, shall be punished with death”.[9]


[1]Section 299 of Indian Penal Code

[2]1985 Cr. L.j 1460

[3]I.L.R 20 All. 143

[4]Section 304 of Indian Penal Code

[5] Section 300 of Indian Penal Code

[6]94 Cr. L.j. 2015

[7]1968 AIR 709

[8]Section 302 of Indian Penal Code

[9]Section 303 of Indian Penal Code

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