The Fatal Errors Of Culpable Homicide In IPC

March 27, 2024
Culpable Homicide in IPC

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) outlines the parameters of criminal responsibility in India’s legal framework, which consists of the serious offense of culpable homicide. A fundamental concept that sits at the intersection of morality and the law is culpable homicide, which is defined under Section 299 of the IPC. It must be understood to comprehend the nuances of the law and the fatal errors associated with it in order to establish a just and equitable legal system.

Culpable Homicide in IPC

  • According to the IPC, committing an act that is likely to result in death, intending to cause a physical injury that is likely to result in death, or knowing that an act is likely to result in death are all considered culpable homicide. Although it is a terrible offense, it differs from murder in that it does not need great responsibility or certain characteristics of premeditation. 
  • The idea of culpable homicide, as defined by Section 299 IPC, is vital to distinguish between different levels of criminal liability for causing the death of another person since it centers on the offender’s knowledge and intention.
  • For Example, Z’s hiding behind a bush, as A knows. B is unaware of it. A encourages B to shoot at the bush with the intention of killing Z, or knowing that it is likely to do so. Z dies when B fires. Here, A has committed the crime of responsible homicide, even if B may not have committed any crimes.

Section 299 IPC: Explanation

As per the Legal Definition of Culpable Homicide, it is the term used to describe killing another person. The clause states that an act of culpable homicide occurs when the victim is killed with the intent to kill or knowing that the victim is likely to die. It also includes situations in which an act is carried out knowing that it would likely cause death or with the intent to cause physical damage that will probably cause death.

It states that when an individual passes away as a result of:

  • someone who performs an act knowing that it would likely result in death, or 
  • with either intentionally to cause death, or 
  • knowing that doing so will probably result in death.

Culpable Homicide Punishment IPC

  • The Indian Penal Code’s Section 304 penalizes culpable homicide (Section 299 IPC). 
  • It is an offense relating to the human body.
  • It stipulates that the offender faces life imprisonment or a term of imprisonment of up to ten years, as well as a fine if they cause death intentionally, cause bodily injury that is likely to cause death or know that death is likely to result from their actions.

Culpable Homicide Cases India

  • In the case of Palani Goudan v Emperor, when a husband used a ploughshare to strike his wife forcefully in the head, she lost consciousness. He hanged her, thinking she was dead, so he could hide his guilt. But rather than the blow, hanging claimed her life. According to the court, the accused was penalized for abusing his wife and trying to fabricate evidence by hanging her, but he could not be found guilty of murder or culpable homicide under the Indian Penal Code. The court determined that she died from hanging and that there was no intent to kill her when dealing with the hit.
  • In the case of Prasad Swanker v Ranjit Kumar, the defendant faced murder charges, but he insisted that he acted to defend himself in self-defense. The deceased’s claim of self-defense was reinforced by suspicions that he was committing robbery. The evidence from the crime scene and the accused’s injuries, the court decided, heightened the possibility that the plea of self-defence was genuine. Consequently, the court overturned and upheld the accused’s murder conviction.

Culpable Homicide vs Murder IPC: Difference

The Difference between 299 and 300 IPC is as follows:

Intentionally inflicting death or a bodily injury that has the potential to cause death.Intentionally causing death or causing harm to the body that could result in death.
May or may not be directly intended to be fatal.Direct intention to take a life.
Injury is significant but not sufficient to cause death in the normal course of events.Injury that would ordinarily result in death.
The knowledge that the deed is probably going to be fatal.Certain knowledge that the deed will result in death.

The Indian Penal Code defines culpable homicide and lists the related punishments in Section 299. It’s not murder, but it’s still a terrible offense with harsh consequences. The provision is of utmost importance in guaranteeing the administration of justice when an individual has perished due to an act that was not necessarily performed with the aim of killing the victim.

Culpable Homicide in IPC FAQs

What are the exceptions to culpable homicide?

The Indian Penal Code lists several exceptions that change an act that would normally be considered murder to culpable homicide, including unexpected and severe provocation, the use of one’s right to private defense, the conduct of a public official, and consent.

What are the essentials of culpable homicide?

First and foremost, the accused must have caused someone else’s death. Secondly, the accused should have known that the act would probably result in death or had the intent to kill. Lastly, there must have been no legal reason or excuse for the act that caused death.

What is the defense of culpable homicide?

If a criminal, acting in good faith to protect himself or his property, goes beyond the authority granted to him by the law and kills the person he is defending against without planning ahead of time or intending to cause more harm than is necessary to accomplish that goal, that is considered culpable homicide rather than murder.

Is every homicide culpable?

The killing could be legal or illegal. Culpable homicide is defined as a legally sanctioned death caused by a human agent. While all homicides can be considered guilty, not all culpable homicides are murder. Therefore, there is essentially no distinction between murder and culpable homicide.

Does culpable homicide require mens rea?

In the case of murder and culpable homicide, for example, the mens rea of the perpetrator is the only consideration when determining the appropriate sentence because the act has already been completed. This is the one thing that separates culpable homicide from murder in terms of not qualifying as murder.

What is the minimum punishment for culpable homicide?

According to Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code, an individual who commits culpable homicide that does not qualify as murder faces life imprisonment or a term of imprisonment of up to ten years. Additionally, they may be subject to a fine if the act that results in the death was carried out with the intent to cause death or cause bodily injury that is likely to cause death.

Is culpable homicide bailable?

According to section 304 of the IPC, negligent homicide is not punishable as murder. Murderers found guilty may receive a life sentence or a 10-year prison term plus penalties. In addition to being a non-bailable offense, culpable homicide is also a cognizable offense.

Is culpable homicide the same as negligence?

Under the Indian Penal Code, negligent homicide, which occurs without the purpose or knowledge to cause death, is punished differently from both culpable homicide and murder. It falls under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code, which is a less serious offense than murder or culpable homicide.

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