Indian Penal Code (IPC)
Section 299. Culpable homicide
Who ever 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.
(a) A lays sticks and turf over a pit, with the intention of there by 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 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.
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.
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 skilful treatment the death might have been prevented.
The causing of the death of 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.
Death caused of person other than intended
The accused, with the intention of killing A or whose life he had taken out considerable insurance without latter’s knowledge, in order to obtain the insured amount gave him some sweets mixed with a well known poison like arsenic. The intended victim ate some of the sweets and threw the rest away which were picked up by two children who ate them and died of poisoning. It was held that the accused was liable for the murder of the children though he intended only to kill A; Public Prosecutor v. Mushunooru Suryanarayana Moorty, (1942) 2 MWN 136: (1912) 13 Cr LJ 145.
Murder distinguished from culpable homicide
“Culpable homicide” is genus, and “murder” is the specie. All “murder” are culpable homicide but not vice-versa; Narasingh Challan v. State of Orissa, (1997) 2 Crimes 78 (Ori).
Presumption regarding intention or knowledge
The accused struck his wife a violent blow on the head with the plougshare which rendered her unconscious and hanged his wife soon afterwards under the impression that she was already dead intending to create false evidence as to the cause of the death and to conceal his own crime. It was held that the intention of the accused must be judged not in the light of the actual circumstances, but in the light of what he supposed to be the circumstances. Hence, the accused cannot be convicted either of
murder or culpable homicide, he could of course be punished both for his original assault on his wife and for his attempt to create fake evidence by hanging her; Palani Gaindan v. Emperor, (1919) 42 Mad 547.
Provocation caused by act
The assault for murder cannot be said to be sudden and without meditation as the deceased was not armed; State of Maharashtra v. Krishna Murti Lazmipatti Naidu, AIR 1981 SC 617: (1981) SC Cr R 398: (1981) Cr LJ 9: (1981) SCC (Cr) 354.