1) Meaning of Homicide :  

     Homicide means the killing of a human being by a human being. Homicide is the highest order of bodily injury that can be inflicted on a human body. It has from earliest times considered the most heinous of offences.    

Homicide may be either lawful or unlawful.

(a) Lawful Homicide : In case of lawful homicide, law will set the culprit free.


(b) Unlawful Homicide : 

       If death is caused with intention or knowledge to cause death, then homicide is classified as unlawful homicide. These cases are Culpable homicide Under Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code and Murder under Section 300 of I.P.C. 



2) Culpable homicide

   Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code says that,  whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.

Illustrations

(a) A lays sticks and turf over a pit, with the intention of thereby causing death, or with the knowledge that death is likely to be thereby caused. Z, believing the ground to be firm, treads on it, falls in and is killed. A has committed the offence of culpable homicide.

(b) A knows Z to be behind a bush. B does not know it. A, intending to cause, or knowing it to be likely to cause Z's death, induces B to fire at the bush. B fires and kills Z. Here B may be guilty of no offence; but A has committed the offence of culpable homicide.

(c) A, by shooting at a fowl with intent to kill and steal it, kills B, who is behind a bush; A not knowing that he was there. Here, although A was doing an unlawful act, he was not guilty of culpable homicide, as he did not intend to kill B or to cause death by doing an act that he knew was likely to cause death.


Explanation 1 : 

          A person who causes bodily injury to another who is labouring under a disorder, disease or bodily infirmity, and thereby accelerates the death of that other, shall be deemed to have caused his death.

Explanation 2 : 

         Where death is caused by bodily injury, the person who causes such bodily injury shall be deemed to have caused the death, although by resorting to proper remedies and skillful treatment the death might have been prevented.

Explanation 3 : 

           The causing of the death of a child in the mother's womb is not homicide. But it may amount to culpable homicide to cause the death of a living child, if any part of that child has been brought forth, though the child may not have breathed or been completely born.

Essential Elements of Culpable Homicide : 

  To invoke Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code following Conditions are to be satisfied.

   (1) There must be a death of a Person  

   (2) The death must have been caused by an act of an act of another person;

   (3) The act of causing  death must be :

               (i) with the intention of causing death,

              (ii) with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or

             (iii) with the knowledge that such act is likely to cause death.
  

3) Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder :

        Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 prescribes the punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, it says that whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death. or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death; or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both, if the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.


       The offence under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code is cognizable, non-bailable, non-compoundable and triable by Court of Session.



See also 

1) Difference between Culpable Homicide and Murder

2) Causing Death by Negligence (Indian Penal Code 1860)

3) Offences Relating to Weights and Measures

4) Offences Relating to Elections : Indian Penal Code 1860

5) Attempt to murder  (Section 307 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860)

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