Murder (defined under Section 300) and culpable homicide (defined under Section 299) are two offenses under the Indian Penal Code the distinction between which has always been perplexing to the law students. Section 299 defines Culpable Homicide.

Whoever causes death by doing an act with

  1. Intention of causing death.
  2. Intentionally causing bodily injury which is likely to cause death.
  3. Doing an act with knowledge that it is likely to cause death.

Section 300 defines Murder

Whoever causes death by doing an act with

  1. Intention of causing death.
  2. Causing such bodily injury as the offender knows it is likely to cause death of a person.
  3. Intentionally causing bodily injury which is sufficient to cause death.
  4. Doing an act with knowledge that it is so imminently dangerous and in all probability causes death.

The question is when death of man is to be treated as culpable homicide or murder. Culpable denotes a ‘blameworthy state of mind’ and Homicide refers to killing a person. Thus culpable homicide refers to taking the life of another person, where the act has been done with criminal intent.

There is a thin difference between the murder and culpable homicide. The difference between murder and culpable homicide is only of “intention to commit murder”. If A kills B and A had no intention to kill then the crime is said to be committed under section 299 i.e. Culpable homicide and if A had an intention to kill by then the crime is said to have been committed under section 300.

murder

In Culpable Homicide, The offender must have the intention of causing such bodily harm which is likely to cause death. In murder, the offender must know that his act will cause death or the bodily injury will be sufficient in “ordinary course of nature to cause death”.

For example, suppose the offender has used the sharp weapon and struck on the vital part of the body. Naturally, the injury is sufficient to cause the death and the offender has the knowledge that his act is an imminent danger and, in all probability, death is bound to occur. This kind of death is called Murder. On the other hand, where the blunt and hard weapon like stick and stone are used and injuries are caused in the hard part of the body, death is likely rather than probable and therefore it is culpable homicide and not murder.

5 Response Comments

  • PUNIT SINGHSeptember 11, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    What part does ‘Motive’ play in both culpable homicide & murder.

    Reply
    • ZoeOctober 26, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Motive is intention.

      Reply
    • Riya RajNovember 7, 2017 at 7:02 am

      Motive is the reason behind intentions. And intention is punishable not the motivr

      Reply
  • GABRIELNovember 10, 2017 at 9:47 am

    BUT THE SEC 299 SPECIFIES A WORD “INTENTION” TO CAUSE DEATH ??
    HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM MURDER THEN ??

    Reply

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