The term murder is derived from Germanic word 'morth' which means secret
killing. Murder is when one is slain with a man's will, act and with malice or
forethought. Murder is unlawful homicide with malice aforethought. Murder is
more serious offence than the culpable homicide. Culpable homicide is a genus,
whereas murder is a species. An offence cannot amount to murder unless it falls
within the definition of culpable homicide.
Murder (section 300)
Murder is defined under section 300 of the Indian penal code.
- The act is committed with an intention to cause death.
- The act is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury which
the offenders has knowledge that if would result in death.
- The person has the knowledge that his act is dangerous and would cause
death or bodily injury but still commits the act; this would manner amount
E.g. -A shoots Z with an intention of killing him, as a result, Z dies in
that consequences murder. Is committed by A.
Exceptions Of Murder
(Culpable homicide not amounting to murder)
- Grave and sudden provocation:
Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, whilst deprived of the
power of self - control by grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of
the person who gave the provocation or causes the death of any other person
by mistake or accident.
The exception is subject to the provisos:
- That the provocation is not sought or voluntarily provoked by the offender
as an excuse for killing or doing harm to any person.
- That the provocation is not given by anything done in obedience to the
law. Or by a public servant in the lawful exercise of the powers of such
- That the provocation is not given by anything done in the lawful
exercise of the right of private defence. (nathan, 1972)
In The Case: K.M Nanavati V. State Of Maharashtra [Air 1962 Sc 605)
was a naval officer. He had three children and was married. His wife
admitted to him one day that she had an affair with Prem Ahuja, the deceased.
Enraged, the accused returned to his ship, got a semi-automatic pistol and six
rounds from the ship's shop, proceeded to the deceased's flat, entered his
bedroom, and shot him to death. Following that, the accused turned himself in to
the police. The Supreme Court had to decide whether the accused actions were
covered by Exception 1 of Section 300.
The following postulates pertaining to the grave and abrupt provocation were
established by the Supreme Court:
- The test of 'grave and sudden' provocation is whether a reasonable man
from the same social group as the accused would be so outraged as to lose
his self-control in the position in which the accused was put.
- In India, words and gestures may give grave and sudden provocation to an
accused, so bringing his act within the first exception to Section 300 of
- In determining whether the succeeding action produced significant and
immediate provocation for committing the crime, the mental context formed by
the victim's earlier act may be taken into account.
- The fatal blow should be clearly traced to the influence of passion
arising from that provocation and not after the passion had cooled down by
lapse of time, or otherwise giving room and scope for premeditation and
he accused was convicted for murder under sec. 302 and sentenced
to life imprisonment. He could not get the benefit of sec. 300 exceptions 1. In
this case fact was grave but caused by nanavati was not sudden. It took him
three hours that was sufficient to regain his self control. Certain grave and
sudden must be decided according to the facts and circumstances of the case.
- Right Of Private Defense:
As per exception 2 of sec. 300 of the code, culpable homicide is not murder if
the offender exercises in good faith of the right of private defense of person
To apply this provision the following conditions must be fulfilled:
- Act must be done in exercise of right of private defence of person or
- Act must have been done in good faith;
- The person doing the act must have exceeded his right given to him by
law and have thereby caused death;
- Act must have been done without premeditation and without any intension
of causing more harm was necessary in self-defence.
In The Case: - Nathan V. State Of Madras (1972)
The accused and his wife were in possession of some land that they had been
farming for some years. They had fallen behind on their lease payments to the
landlady. The accused was forcibly evicted, and the landlord attempted to
harvest the crop. As a result, the accused killed the dead in the exercise of
his right to private property defence.
The Supreme Court agreed with the claim
that the incident occurred when the accused was exercising his legal right to
private defence against the property. The right to private property defence was
restricted to the degree of causing any harm other than death under u, IPC
because the deceased person was not armed with any lethal weapons and there
could not have been any fear of death or severe harm on the part of the accused
and his party.
As a result, the accused's right to private defence was violated,
and the case was classified as culpable homicide not amounting to murder under
Exception 2 to Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code because the act was done in
good faith and without the intent to cause death. The accused's death sentence
was commuted to a term of life in prison.
- Exercise of legal powers:
Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, being a public servant or
aiding a public servant acting for the advancement of public justice, exceeds
the powers given to him by law and causes the death by doing an act which he, in
good faith, believes to be lawful and necessary for the due discharge of his
duty as such public servant and without ill-will towards the person whose death
The essential ingredients of this exception:
- The offence must be committed by a public servant or by a person aiding a
- The act alleged must have been committed by the public servant in the
discharge of his official duties;
- He should have exceeded the powers given to him by law;
- The act should be done in good faith;
- The public servant should have believed that his act was lawful and
necessary for the due discharges of his duties;
- He should not have borne any ill-will towards the person whose death was
In The Case: Dakhi Singh V. State (Air 1955 All 379)
A constable of railway protection police shot a thief suspected to be tampering
with sugar bags from the goods wagon on order by the havaldar. He did so in
discharge of his duty and that it was just an accident that he hit the firemen
instead. He was convicted under sec 302 by the lower court, on appeal; it was
held that the case would be covered by exception 3 to section 300 IPC.
present case, there was no ill-will between the appellant and the deceased. The
appellant was a public servant and his object was the advancement of public
justice. He caused the death of the fireman by doing an act which he, in good
faith, believed to be lawful and necessary for the due discharge of his duty. In
such circumstances, it was held that the offence committed was culpable homicide
not amounting to murder punishable under sec. 304, part - II of IPC and not
murder. The conviction under section 302 for murder was set aside.
- Death caused in sudden fight:
Culpable homicide is not murder if it is committed without premeditation in
sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the
offender's having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner.
The only requirements for this exception are that:
- The murder be committed without premeditation;
- It is committed in a sudden fight;
- It is committed in the heat of passion;
- It is committed upon a sudden quarrel;
- It is committed without the offender taking undue advantage or acting in
a cruel or unusual manner.
In The Case: Surinder Kumar V. Union Territory Of Chandigarth [Air 1989 Sc 1094]
The appellant had an argument with the deceased and there was heated exchange
and the appellant got enraged, went into the kitchen and returned with a knife
with which he inflicted blows on the deceased and the deceased collapsed on the
floor and later died. Considering the facts that there was no ill-will between
the parties the court held that the appellant was entitled to the benefit of
exception 4 of section 300. The accused was convicted under section 304.
Death with consent:
Culpable homicide is not murder when the person whose death is caused being
above the age of 18 year, suffers death or takes the risk of death with his own
The points to be proved are:
- The death was caused with the consent of the deceased;
- The deceased was then above 18 year of age
- That such consent was free and voluntary and not given through fear or
misconception of facts.
In The Case: Dasrath Paswan V. State Of Bihar [Air 1958 Pat 190]
The accused was a tenth class student and failed thrice. He decided to end his
life and informed his wife. She asked him to first kill her and then kill
himself. In accordance with their pact, the accused killed his wife aged 19
years. He was arrested before he could kill himself. He was convicted under sec
302, IPC for the murder of his wife and sentenced to transportation for life.
On appeal, the Patna high court having regard to the extraordinary nature of his
case, held that a moderate sentence is proper. The appellant is immature young
man and was suffering from an inferior complex. The loss of a devoted wife has
already been a great punishment to him. Appellant was sentenced to five years of
rigorous imprisonment under sec 304 parts-I of the IPC, relying upon exception 5
These are the Exception of section 300 in which if someone causes injury or
death to another person then he will get the benefit under these exceptions. But
the person has to fulfil all the important points which are described under this
Section. There is a say that there is always an exception to everything.
And this section gives protection to the accused, if he has done any act under
the private defence, sudden fight, consent, etc then the accused can take the
benefits of these sections. But the court has a duty that he will take the cases
very seriously and read all the important points and facts of the case.