In India, The Indian Penal Code, 1860 was introduced which contains various
provisions to provide punishments for different offences committed within the
scope of the Act.
The word offence includes any act committed outside India, if committed in India
would be punishable.
Under the Indian Penal Code,1860 there are various offences affecting life which
- S. 299 of IPC - Culpable homicide
- S. 300 of IPC - Murder
- S. 301 of IPC - Culpable homicide by causing the death of a person
- S. 302 of IPC- Punishment for Murder
- S. 303 of IPC - Punishment for Murder by a life convict
- S. 304 of IPC - Punishment for Culpable homicide not amounting to murder
- S. 305 of IPC - Abetment of suicide of child or insane person
- S. 306 of IPC - Abetment of suicide
- S. 307 of IPC - Attempt to Murder
- S. 308 of IPC - Attempt to commit culpable homicide
- S. 309 of IPC - Attempt to commit suicide
- S. 310 of IPC - Thug
- S. 311 of IPC - Punishment
In the degradation of society, human beings often attempt or cause the death of
the other human body for many reasons as they consider themselves to be superior
among all so any
an act that affects the life of any human body is defined and punishable under
In India, the judges have been provided wide discretion in interpreting various
offences defined under this act and awarding appropriate punishment or sentences
according to the given circumstances of the case provided.
Interpretation Of Culpable Homicide And Murder
Section 299 of IPC,1860 defines that if any person by an act causes death with
an intention to do so or does any bodily injury that likely to cause death or
have the knowledge that such act can cause death, the person commits the offence
of culpable homicide.
While section 300 of IPC,1860 defines murder as an act done with an intention of
The question raised in the court of law was that “ whether an offence is a
murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder ?” so it was necessary to
differentiate between the two provisions of the law.
While interpreting the judges stated that in both the provisions “ intention” is
present to cause the death of a person so the degree of the intention is to be
taken into consideration. If a person is well-plotting plans in order to kill
a person then it is said to be murder as the intention here is a high degree. On
the other hand, if a person is killed in a heat of a moment or there is a lack
of proper planning in the death then it is to be said as culpable homicide.
The courts while deciding the case undertakes certain question:
- whether the accused caused the death
- whether the offence falls under the scope of section 299
- whether the case is within the ambit of four clauses of section 300
While determining these questions, if the outcome is is negative then it
would be culpable homicide not amounting to murder
In a case, the accused knocked down his wife while putting one knee on her chest
and stuck her head by giving a blow two to three-time with his fist causing a
blood clot in her brain. While deciding the case it was held that due to lack of
evidence she either died on the spot or afterward, leading to no intention of
the accused to cause her death so it was culpable homicide not amounting to
Interpretation Of Section 301
Section 301 of IPC,1860 states that if a person does any act which is likely to
cause the death of a person not intended to is the same as to if he had intended
to do so.
Section 302 of IPC,1860 prescribed punishment for murder.
The doctrine of the transfer of malice was given a meaning under section 301 of
In the case, The Emperor v. Mushnoora Suryanarayana Murthy
, the limelight was
given to section 301. The accused with an intention of killing the victim added
some poison to the food item. Later on, other persons consumed that food item
given to the victim due to which he died instantly while the victim recovered
from the poison. In the court, a question was raised whether the accused will be
liable or not under the court of law?
It was ruled out that the language used in sections 299 and 300 is overlapping
and since there is an involvement of the knowledge that could cause the death of
the person, the accused was convicted under section 301.
Interpretation Of Section 302 And 303
Section 302 and 303, prescribed punishment for murder.
The court while interpreting the sections, stated that mitigating and
aggravating factors are to taken into consideration while imposing punishment
for murder. The court also stated that due consideration should be given to
the criminal also. For the offence of murder, the punishment usually is given
life imprisonment which was later held out by the supreme court that the death
penalty can also be awarded which depends on the gravity of the act caused by
However, in the recent argument, it was opined that the punishment for murder to
be given in accordance with the circumstances or facts of the case in
Interpretation Of Section 304
The punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder is life
imprisonment or imprisonment for a term extending to 10 years and also liable to
If the act is done with the knowledge that such an act is likely to cause death
but without any intention to cause death then the punishment is extended to 10
years and fine. In this section, the punishment depends on the presence of
intention which is drawn from the circumstance of the case.
In a case, Shanmugam v. State of T.N
., the accused was charged under S.299,
300, and 304. The court while awarding the punishment held that the accused
stabbed the deceased in his chest due to which he died so the intention and
knowledge could be clearly established from the facts of the case. The accused
was convicted under section 304 (1) of IPC.1860.
Interpretation Of Section 305, 306 And 309
Section 305 prescribes punishment for abetment of suicide of a child or insane
person. If any person who is below the age of eighteen years or any insane
person or any person who is intoxicated or not in a stable mind commits suicide,
whoever abets such an act shall be punishable under this provision. The
punishment may be awarded death sentence or life imprisonment or imprisonment
extend to 10 years and also fine.
Section 306 prescribes punishment for abetment of suicide. Any person who abets
the offence shall be imprisoned for an extension to 10 years and be liable for a
fine by the court of law.
While interpreting the sections the court ruled out that there must be
instigation or assistance to commit the offence.
It is necessary to prove the mens rea of the accused and that he has influenced the victim to take away his
life. The abetment of suicide also violates the purview of the Indian
Constitution. It is a mental process and there is a presence of a chain of
circumstances by one person who induces the other to take his life, which is to
be established by the prosecution.
Section 309 prescribed that if any person attempts to commit suicide and does
any act which would constitute the offence then he shall be punished with
imprisonment for one year or fine or both. section 309 has always been under
conflict because under the Art.21( right to life) of the Indian constitution
doesn't include the right to die so the question of the validity of section 309
was raised in the court of law.
It is presumed that a person suffering from
severe mental stress takes the huge step of committing the offence which would
be considered and will not be taken into account for providing
punishment. However, the word “mental stress” is nowhere mentioned in the
provisions but used subsequently in the place of “mental illness
” so the courts
while interpreting held that legislature intended to give the same meaning of
two different words.
Interpretation Of Section 307 And 308
Section 307 prescribed that any person with sufficient knowledge and intention,
If does such an act would cause death shall be convicted under S.307 for an
attempt to murder. The punishment prescribed may extend to ten years of
imprisonment and also be liable for fine. If the hurt is caused to the victim
then the punishment may extend to life imprisonment.
Section 308 prescribed that any person if does such an act which will constitute
the death of a person with knowledge or an intention then such person shall be
convicted under this section for an attempt to commit culpable homicide not
amounting to murder.
The punishment prescribed may extend to either three years or fine or with both.
If the hurt is caused to the victim then it shall extend to seven years or fine
The essential ingredients of this provision are intention, preparation, and
The court while interpreting sections 307 and 308 stated that any attempt to
cause the death of a person is also punishable under the provisions of
The intention and knowledge are the essential elements to constitute the
crime. Courts while convicting accused under the offence for an attempt to
murder and attempt to commit culpable homicide stated that irrespective of the
gravity of the act, any injuries caused to the victim would come under the scope
of S.307 and 308. The chain of circumstance and methods used by the accused is
sufficient to prove the mens rea.
Interpretation Of 310 And 311
Section 310 defines thug as any person after the enactment of the act if
associates with others to commit robbery or child-stealing along with murder
shall be dragged under this section.
While section 311 prescribed punishment for a thug for a term of life
imprisonment and also be liable for fine.
With the development of society, Thug, now has disappeared in India.
It has now termed as kidnappers, robbers, or murderers.
Indian Penal Code,1960 was enacted to define various offences and prescribe
punishment according to the different circumstances. With the changing society,
it is needed by the courts to interpret the language and phrases used in the act
as the makers of the law made the act according to the society of that time.
Human beings are at the top of the life cycle so they consider themselves to be
the most intelligent species. Law aims to prevent crimes committed by one person
to the other so many offences against life were discussed in the Indian Penal
Courts while deciding a case, preferred many previous judgments given by
different courts, and used the rules of interpretation to convict the accused.
The most essential part of the fair trial is to understand the true nature of
the act and prescribe the punishment according to it while interpreting the act.
To serve the proper justice and maintain law and order in the country it is
necessary to understand the pure intention of the legislature while framing the
- IPC, 1860, S. 4(3)(a)
- Indian Penal Code, 1860, Chapter XVI
- State of MP v. Bablu Natt, AIR 2008
- State of A.P. v. R. Punnayya
- LEX Life India, https://lexlife.in, last visited ( 18th Oct,2020)
- Reg. v. Govinda, AIR 1876, Bom 342
- Jagpal Singh v. State of Punjab, (1991) Cr LJ 597 (SC)
- AIR 1912, 22 MLJ 333
- www.locgov.in, sentencing
- Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab, (1980) 2 S.C.C. 684, para. 165, http://indiankanoon.org/doc/909940/
- Sangeet & Anr. v. State of Haryana
- Schedule 1, crpc
- AIR 2003 SC 209
- INDIA CONST. art. 14, 21
- Smt. Gian Kaur vs The State Of Punjab, 1996 AIR 946
- Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, S.115
- Rambabu vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh on 1 April 2019
- Diva rai, Section 307 and 308, IPLEADERS, blog.ipleaders.in/section-307-308-of-ipc-attempt-to-commit-murder-and-culpable-homicide/
- Indian Penal Code,1860, 6th October (on this day the act came into
- KD Gaur, The Indian Penal Code, pg.558
Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Suman Moharana
Authentication No: OT31679558104-29-1020