Section – 299 and section – 300 of IPC deal with culpable homicide and murder. It is said that al murder all culpable homicide but all culpable homicide are not murder. It is because Culpable Homicide is genus and murder is its species.

Culpable Homicide

Section – 299 of IPC covers culpable homicide. Homicide means killing of a human by another human. Culpable homicide means any act committed by a human being

  • which causes the death of another human being with the intention of causing death or
  • which causes such injury which is likely to result in the death of that human, or
  • the offender has the knowledge that the act committed by him is likely to result in death.


  1. X has Asthma and he needs inhaler whenever he has shortness of breath. Y locks X in a room and prevents him from using his inhaler. In this case, Y is guilty of culpable homicide.
  2. X knows Y is behind the bush. Even then, X induces Z to fire at bush which results in the death of Y. In this case, X is guilty of culpable homicide as he knew that Y is behind the bush and this act will result in Y’s death.  

Punishment for culpable homicide

Section 304 of the IPC provides for punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, it says that the following punishment to be awarded to a person guilty of culpable homicide under section 299 of IPC:

  1. Life imprisonment; or
  2. Imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years,
  3. And shall also be liable to fine.


Section – 300 of IPC defines murder. It says that culpable homicide will be considered as murder if the following conditions are satisfied –

  • The act is committed with the intention of causing death.
  • The offender has the knowledge that the act committed with the intention of causing such bodily injury will result in the death of the other human being.
  • The offender has knowledge that the act is so dangerous that it will definitely cause death or such bodily injury which will result in death.

Then, this would amount to murder.


  1. X knows that Y has brain tumor. Even then, he hits him with a stick again and again on his head with the intention of causing death. Y dies consequently. Then, X is guilty of murder.
  2. X shoots with a gun at Y with the intention of killing him. Due to this, Y dies. Then, X is guilty of murder.

Punishment for murder

Section 302 of the IPC deals with punishment for murder or culpable homicide amounting to murder; It states that a person committing murder shall be liable for life imprisonment or death penalty and he shall also be liable for a fine.

However, death penalty can only be awarded in rarest of the rare case. This was held in the case of Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab wherein the court observed that when the court can avail the recourse of life imprisonment then the court must not award such an inhumane punishment like death penalty.

Exceptions to Section 300 of IPC where culpable homicide is not considered as murder

Culpable homicide is murder only when the act is committed with the intention of causing death but in the following circumstances, this principle is not considered. Following are the exceptions when culpable homicide does not amount to murder;

1.     Sudden and grave provocation 

When the act is committed by a person when he gets deprived of the power of self-control because of a grave and sudden provocation and causes the death of the person who provoked him or of someone else by mistake,

But, this exception is available only if –

·        Provocation is not sought or is voluntarily provoked by the offender

·        Provocation is by a public servant while exercising the powers lawfully of a public servant.

·        Provocation is not made while doing any lawful exercise of the right of private defence.

2.     When the person exceeds his right to private defence 

Where the act is committed to protect oneself from further harm; if the accused intentionally exceeds his right to private defence, then he is liable for murder. If his act is unintentional, then the offender will be liable for culpable homicide.

3.     Culpable homicide in case of Public Servant

If a public servant causes someone’s death while performing his duties and in good faith and he believes that his acts were lawful.

4.     Sudden Fight

If a person causes the death of someone in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel; also, in such a case the fact that which party had assaulted or offered a provocation first is not important.

  • Consent

When a person consents to his own death and he is above 18 years of age.

Landmark Case Laws

In the case of Reg. v. Govinda, husband badly beat his wife. He kept a knee on her chest and gave her several violent blows with his fist on her face. This act led to extraversion of blood on her brain. Due to which, she died. The act was not committed with the intention of causing death and the bodily injury was not sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature. Hence, husband was guilty of culpable homicide.

In the case of Bhagwan Singh v. State of Uttarakhand,5 people were hurt and 2 of them succumbed to their injuries because of celebratory gunfire. The accused held the gun towards the roof of the house and the bullets got deflected and injured. The accused said that he had no intention to cause anyone’s death. The court observed that the accused was carrying a loaded gun in public and he did not take proper care of his surroundings. He must’ve had an idea that the pellets could deflect and hurt someone. The court held him guilty of culpable homicide.

In the case Ram Kumar v. Sate of Chhattisgarh, the appellant fell in love with his sister-in-law and one day before her marriage he called her in a field and hit her head with a stick. The girl went running towards her house and then went to the police station to file an FIR. Then, she was taken to the hospital but she died on the way. The court in this case, after looking at the post mortem report showed that if the girl would’ve reached the hospital early she could have been saved, hence the appellant was sentenced under section 304 part I Indian Penal Code.

In the case of Raju Jagdish Paswan v. The State of Maharashtra, the appellant had committed rape of a nine-year-old kid. He was awarded death penalty by the trial court and the High Court. On appeal in the Supreme Court, the punishment was reduced, as death can only be awarded in rarest of rare cases. The death penalty was not awarded by the Supreme Court in this case because it was not a planned murder, there was no evidence by the State that the person cannot be rehabilitated and reformed and the appellant was just 22 years old.