27 April 2020

Distinction between Murder, Culpable Homicide and Culpable Homicide Not Amounting to Murder

murder-and-culpable-homicide

In State of AP vs Rayavarapu Punnayya, AIR 1977 SC 45, the Supreme Court made following observation:

   " .... whenever a court is confronted with the question whether the offence is "murder" or "culpable homicide not amounting to murder", on the facts of a case, it will be convenient for it to approach the problem in three stages. The question to be considered at the first stage would be, whether the accused has done an act by doing which he has caused the death of another. Proof of such causal connection between the act of the accused and the death leads to the second stage for considering whether that act of the accused amounts to "culpable homicide" as defined in section 299. If the answer to this question is prima facie found in the affirmative, the stage for considering the operation of section 300, Penal Code is reached. This is the stage at which the court should determine whether the facts proved by the prosecution brings the case within the ambit of any of the four clauses of the definition of "murder"contained in section 300. If the answer to this question is in the negative the offence would be "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" punishable under the first or the second part of section 304, depending, respectively,on whether the second or the third clause of section 299 is applicable. If this question is found in the positive, but the case comes within any of the exceptions enumerated in section 300, the offence would still be "culpable homicide not amounting to murder," punishable under the first part of section 304, Penal Code."


   " .... whenever a court is confronted with the question whether the offence is "murder" or "culpable homicide not amounting to murder", on the facts of a case, it will be convenient for it to approach the problem in three stages. The question to be considered at the first stage would be, whether the accused has done an act by doing which he has caused the death of another. Proof of such causal connection between the act of the accused and the death leads to the second stage for considering whether that act of the accused amounts to "culpable homicide" as defined in section 299. If the answer to this question is prima facie found in the affirmative, the stage for considering the operation of section 300, Penal Code is reached. This is the stage at which the court should determine whether the facts proved by the prosecution brings the case within the ambit of any of the four clauses of the definition of "murder"contained in section 300. If the answer to this question is in the negative the offence would be "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" punishable under the first or the second part of section 304, depending, respectively,on whether the second or the third clause of section 299 is applicable. If this question is found in the positive, but the case comes within any of the exceptions enumerated in section 300, the offence would still be "culpable homicide not amounting to murder," punishable under the first part of section 304, Penal Code." 

   " .... whenever a court is confronted with the question whether the offence is "murder" or "culpable homicide not amounting to murder", on the facts of a case, it will be convenient for it to approach the problem in three stages. The question to be considered at the first stage would be, whether the accused has done an act by doing which he has caused the death of another. Proof of such causal connection between the act of the accused and the death leads to the second stage for considering whether that act of the accused amounts to "culpable homicide" as defined in section 299. If the answer to this question is prima facie found in the affirmative, the stage for considering the operation of section 300, Penal Code is reached. This is the stage at which the court should determine whether the facts proved by the prosecution brings the case within the ambit of any of the four clauses of the definition of "murder"contained in section 300. If the answer to this question is in the negative the offence would be "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" punishable under the first or the second part of section 304, depending, respectively,on whether the second or the third clause of section 299 is applicable. If this question is found in the positive, but the case comes within any of the exceptions enumerated in section 300, the offence would still be "culpable homicide not amounting to murder," punishable under the first part of section 304, Penal Code."

   " .... whenever a court is confronted with the question whether the offence is "murder" or "culpable homicide not amounting to murder", on the facts of a case, it will be convenient for it to approach the problem in three stages. The question to be considered at the first stage would be, whether the accused has done an act by doing which he has caused the death of another. Proof of such causal connection between the act of the accused and the death leads to the second stage for considering whether that act of the accused amounts to "culpable homicide" as defined in section 299. If the answer to this question is prima facie found in the affirmative, the stage for considering the operation of section 300, Penal Code is reached. This is the stage at which the court should determine whether the facts proved by the prosecution brings the case within the ambit of any of the four clauses of the definition of "murder"contained in section 300. If the answer to this question is in the negative the offence would be "culpable homicide not amounting to murder" punishable under the first or the second part of section 304, depending, respectively,on whether the second or the third clause of section 299 is applicable. If this question is found in the positive, but the case comes within any of the exceptions enumerated in section 300, the offence would still be "culpable homicide not amounting to murder," punishable under the first part of section 304, Penal Code."

    It was further observed:

    "In the scheme of the Penal Code, "culpable homicide" is genus and "murder" its specie. All "murder" is "culpable homicide" but not vice-versa. Speaking generally, "culpable homicide" sans "special characteristics of murder", is "culpable homicide not amounting to murder". For the purpose of fixing punishment, proportionate to the gravity of this generic offence, the Code practically recognises three degrees of culpable homicide. The first is, what may be called, "culpable homicide of the first degree". This is the greatest form of culpable homicide, which is defined in Section 300 as "murder". The second may be termed as "culpable homicide of the second degree." [Para No.125] The above observation has been referred in subsequent decisions and the same holds the field as a guideline in order to appreciate and understand the distinguishing features of the offence of 'murder,' 'culpable homicide' and 'culpable homicide not amounting to murder.' In every murder there is culpable homicide and on existence of certain facts as mentioned in five exceptions to section 300 IPC, a murder may become culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and the difference between the two is the degree of probability and certainty. Where death is the likely result, it is culpable homicide and where it is most obvious result, the offence is murder and if such murder is covered by any of the exceptions to section 300, the same is punishable under section 304 and not under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.[Para No.126]

Allahabad High Court

Ram Charan And Others
Vs.
State Of U.P.

Decides on 23/04/2020

 
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