IPC || Murder and Homicide: Major Difference, Case Laws

Murder and Culpable Homicide

In this article, we will discuss some major differences between Culpable Homicide and Murder given under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 along with some important Case Laws.

Culpable Homicide: Section 299 

An act that kills someone but is not considered to be murder is called culpable homicide. The elements of culpable homicide include 1) unlawful killing of a person, 2) intent to kill, 3) intent to cause harm that may result in death, and 4) knowledge that the conduct could result in death.

The laws governing culpable homicides and murders vary from nation to nation. The Criminal Code uses this phrase to categorize all homicides as either culpable or not culpable homicides. Additionally, there are three types of responsible homicides: infanticide, manslaughter, and murder. Additionally, killings that are deemed to be not at fault are referred to as justifiable killings. Culpable homicide is also defined as “whoever causes death by executing an act with the aim of causing death, or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause death by such act, commits the offence of Culpable Homicide” under the Indian Penal Code.

Types of Homicide

Homicides can be classified into two categories: (1) legal homicides and (2) illegal homicides. Lawful homicides are those that are exempt from punishment under the IPC’s Chapter on General Exceptions. The homicides that are punishable by the Code are categorically considered to be unlawful homicides.

Based on the characteristics of the “general exceptions” that surround the homicide, legal homicides can be categorised into two categories: excusable homicides and justified homicides. The IPC recognizes three categories of homicide as a result. Three distinct murderous behaviours exist

  • Excusable
  • acceptable, and
  • illicit or unlawful (i.e. killings that are neither excused nor justified).

Homicide offences are covered under Chapter XVI of the IPC’s “Offenses Affecting Life” section. It’s created

It consists of the following four homicide offenses:

An act of culpable homicide that is not murder,

  • A homicide that was committed with intent,
  • Death due to hasty or careless action, and
  • Dowry demise

Murder: Section 300

When someone or a group kills someone else with the intent to end the victim’s life, it is referred to as murder. Murder is defined as an intentional killing under common law, is prohibited (there is no legal justification), and entails malice. A wicked intent to cause harm is known as a malice afterthought. It is this afterthought of malice that distinguishes murder from other types of homicide, like manslaughter.

The law also distinguishes between first- and second-degree murder. Homicides committed in the first degree are more severe and hazardous than other murders. Additionally, they are more morally repugnant than other crimes. Additionally, second-degree murders frequently result from killings that do not qualify as first-degree murders. It’s crucial to remember that the requirements for classifying a murder as first- or second-degree vary depending on the laws of various nations and jurisdictions. No of the severity, murder is always considered an intentional killing planned in advance by the law.

Case laws pertaining to Murder and Culpable Homicide

Vasanth v. State of Maharashtra (1983) The Supreme Court ruled that the accused intentionally slammed his jeep into the deceased and ran him over with the purpose to kill him. They’ve existed prior animosity between the accused and the deceased in Vasanth v. State of Maharashtra (1983). The accused had no cause or requirement to drive the jeep in the incorrect way. It will constitute culpable homicide amounting to murder in both cases.

In Pulicherla Nagaraju v. State of Andhra Pradesh (2006), the Supreme Court outlined the facets that courts should consider when deciding whether an act is punishable as murder or culpable homicide. A combination of a few or many of the following, among other things, can be used to determine the intent to cause death. These include the weapon’s properties, whether the accused carried the weapon or it was picked up on the spot, and the amount of force used to injure someone.

Punishments for Culpable Homicide and Murder

Section 304 IPC:

Penalty for a culpable homicide that does not amount to murder. If the conduct is done with the purpose to cause death, Section 304, Pt I specifies a penalty of life imprisonment or imprisonment of any kind for a term up to ten years and a fine. If an offence is committed with the knowledge that it is so dangerous that it must almost certainly result in death, and the act is committed without justification, then the offence is brought under Section 302.

Section 302 IPC:

The Code of Criminal Procedure states that murder is punishable by death or life imprisonment. If a court finds an offender guilty of murder under Section 300, the court must sentence the criminal to either life imprisonment or death. No other lesser punishment can be imposed by the court. Section 354(3) requires the court to establish particular reasons for imposing a death sentence.

In Reddy Sampath Kumar v. State (2005), the Apex Court permitted the accused, who was engaged in many murders of his in-laws, to be sentenced to life in jail. The court barred him from collecting any remissions on auspicious occasions in order to serve as a deterrent. Similarly, in the Lehna case (2002), the Supreme Court declared the death penalty imposed by the trial court and upheld by the high court on the accused to be unconstitutional.


Legislators may consider enacting legislation that includes deterrence theory and consequences. There will be a decline in crime when punishments are strengthened. Crimes such as rape and murder are becoming increasingly dangerous to women and children. According to recent estimates, these crime rates are rising every day.

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