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Differences Between Murder And Culpable Homicide


The provision of 'Murder' under Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code encompasses the offence of culpable homicide, and states that culpable homicide is considered as murder if any of the following conditions are met:
  1. The act leading to death was done with the intention to cause death.
  2. The act was done with the intention of causing such bodily injury that the offender knew could result in death.
  3. The act was committed with the intention of causing bodily injury to a person, and the intended injury is sufficient to cause death in the normal course of events.
  4. The perpetrator is aware that their act is extremely dangerous and is likely to result in death or severe bodily harm.

A case of murder is cognizable, non-bailable, triable by court of session and non-compoundable. The punishment for murder is defined in section 302 IPC.

Culpable Homicide:

The crime of culpable homicide as defined in section 299 of the Indian Penal Code is committed by the person who intentionally causes death, or inflicts bodily injury that is likely to result in death, or is aware that their actions may result in death.

A case of culpable homicide is also cognizable, non-bailable, triable by court of session and non-compoundable. The punishment for culpable homicide is defined in section 304 IPC.

Differences between Murder and Culpable Homicide:

The differences between Murder and Culpable Homicide are given below:

  • Murder involves the deliberate intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm to another person. Culpable homicide, on the other hand, does not require specific intent to kill. It can occur due to negligence, recklessness, or without premeditated intent to cause death.
  • In murder there is direct intention to cause death, whereas in culpable homicide there is no direct intention to cause death.
  • Murder is defined in section 300 of the IPC and punishment is mentioned in section 302 IPC. Culpable homicide is defined in section 299 of the IPC and the punishment for the same is noted in section 304 IPC.
  • The punishment for murder is Death or Life imprisonment and also fine. Culpable Homicide encompasses two distinct scenarios: (1) intentional acts resulting in death and (2) actions committed with awareness of their potential to cause death. In the first scenario, the punishment may range from life imprisonment to 10 years imprisonment and a fine. In the second scenario, the penalty may include 10 years imprisonment, a fine, or both.
  • Death of the victim is generally caused instantly in murder cases, whereas in culpable homicide death may not be caused immediately.
  • Securing bail for individuals accused in murder cases proves to be more challenging compared to those in culpable homicide cases.
  • Death sentence may be awarded to the accused persons of murder cases, but the accused persons in culpable homicide cases cannot be awarded capital punishment.
  • Murder typically requires the presence of malice aforethought, indicating a deliberate intention to unlawfully take someone's life or cause serious harm. Culpable homicide does not necessarily involve malice aforethought. The death may result from non-malicious factors such as carelessness or disregard for safety.
  • Murder typically carries severe legal consequences, including lengthy prison sentences or, in some jurisdictions, the death penalty. Culpable homicide may result in lesser penalties compared to murder, depending on the degree of negligence or recklessness involved.
  • Murder requires prosecutors to establish the perpetrator's specific intent to kill beyond a reasonable doubt. Culpable homicide often involves proving the defendant's negligent or reckless actions led to the victim's death, which may require a lower standard of proof.
  • In murder cases, the perpetrator's intent to cause harm or death is a central element of the crime. Culpable homicide may occur even in situations where the perpetrator did not intend for anyone to die but acted negligently or recklessly.
  • Malice is a defining characteristic of murder, indicating the deliberate and premeditated nature of the killing. Culpable homicide may lack the presence of malice, as the death may result from unintended or accidental actions.
  • The penalty for murder is often more severe than that for culpable homicide due to the premeditated nature of the crime and the presence of malice. Culpable homicide may result in a range of penalties depending on the circumstances, with punishments typically less severe than those for murder.
  • In murder the injury is sufficient in the ordinary course to cause death. In culpable homicide the injury though is likely to cause death, it is not sufficient to cause death in ordinary course.
  • The punishment for murder is death sentence or life imprisonment. The murder for culpable homicide is imprisonment up to 10 years or with fine or with both.
  • In murder there is certain knowledge that the act will cause death. In culpable homicide there is knowledge that the act is likely to cause death.
  • Anyone who does a particular act that leads to the death of another with sufficient intent to cause the death of that person is called murder. Anyone who causes the death of any other through an act that is likely to lead to the death of the other person is called culpable homicide.
  • Culpable homicide encompasses a broader scope than the specific act of murder. In this sense, murder can be seen as a specific type of culpable homicide.
  • Though all murders are culpable homicides, not all culpable homicides are considered murder.
  • While a murder often has no sudden provocation or heat of passion, though it is a deliberate and premeditated act. Culpable homicide could occur in the heat of passion or during sudden quarrels with not the clear intention to cause death.
  • There are five specific circumstances that may warrant a reduction of murder charges to culpable homicide: grave and sudden provocation, private defence, acts of public servants, sudden fights, and consent. Culpable homicide, however, does not have any exceptions.
  • In the case of murder, the criminal has full knowledge that his or her actions will result in death, whereas in the case of culpable homicide, such knowledge is not as definite.
  • The probability of causing death tends to be higher in a murder case than in culpable homicide.
  • Murder can be seen as a more severe and extreme type of culpable homicide.

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