ISSN: 2581-8465


Author: Miss Sindhuja Singh & Miss Shefali Chaudhary

ICFAI Law School Dehradun


Culpable homicide is an offence of killing someone basically with an intention to kill. It can merely be an act with a state of harming someone. The accused with the intention of killing shall be deemed to have caused death. Who so ever commits culpable homicide though not amounting to murder shall be punished with imprisonment for life or for the term which may extend to ten years and shall also be liable to fine. With the increase in a number of culpable homicide cases in our country, there is a need for better and improved laws and jurisdiction for justified justice. People don’t consider culpable homicide as an intense offence as it does not amount to murder, it is just an intention. We need to understand that even the intention of causing harm to someone may result in severe consequences. Thus the Indian penal code has categorically defined the term with all the norms and penalties for penalizing the accused.


Culpable Homicide as the word suggest means the killing of a human being. As we go deep in describing the word culpable means responsible for something and homicide means to kill any human. This can be with both the lawful and unlawful means.


Section 299 of Indian penal code deals with culpable homicide and is stated as follows / ‘’whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death , or with the intention of causing such bodily injury1 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 . ‘’ As mentioned above it is not necessarily important that all the above-mentioned conditions are satisfied in order to categorize it as a culpable homicide but even if only one condition is satisfied then it will come under section 299 of the Indian penal code which deals with culpable homicide.

Culpable homicide can be with both the lawful2 and unlawful means. Lawful homicide includes several cases which fall under chapter 4 of the Indian penal code dealing with the General exceptions.

Whereas unlawful homicide can be categorized as :

  1. Murder ( Section 302) :
  • Culpable homicide not amounting to murder ( Section 304 ):
  • Causing death by negligence:
  • Suicide: ( Section 305 and 306) :

There are several conditions which need to be satisfied or we can say that these are the essentials of culpable homicide :

  1. Causing of death of human beings :
  • The death caused must have been done by doing an act:
  • This act also has certain conditions, as follows :
  1. 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 the doer is likely, by such act to cause death.

The offence of culpable homicide is completed as soon as any person is killed by the accused who is in that mental state of killing the other person. Hence to make it more precise we now hereby discussing some of the relevant cases which would clarify the penalizing processes ;

  1. physical damage to a person’s body.

2 confirmed or recognized by law.



Cr.A.No. 32 of 1912

Decided on – 02 JANUARY 1912

At, High Court of Judicature at Madras

By the Honorable Mister justice Abdur Rahim, Honorable Mister Justice Benson, and the Honorable Mister Justice Sundara Aiyer


  1. This is an appeal by the public prosecutor on behalf of the government against the acquittal of one Surnarayana Murthy on a charge of having murdered the girl Rajalaxmi
  • The facts of the case so far as it is necessary to state them for the purposes of this appeal are as follows:

The accused with the intention of Appala Narasimhulu gave him some sweetmeat in which a poison containing Arsenic and Mercury insoluble form had been mixed. Appala ate the portion of sweet and threw the rest. This occurred at the house of brother-in-law where the accused had asked Appala to meet him. Rajalaxmi who was eight years and niece of accused took some of the sweets ate it and gave some of the sweet to another child who also ate it. The two children who had eaten the poisoned the sweet died but Appala eventually recovered. The accused had been sentenced to transpiration to life for having attempted to murder Appala.

The question which we have to consider in this appeal is whether on the facts stated above the accused is guilty of the murder of Rajalaxmi.

  • The language of the section and the illustrations seem to show that the contributory action of Appala in throwing away part of the sweet nor the contributory action of a girl in picking it up and eating it prevent our holding that it was the accused who caused the girls death.
  • a person who is charged with or on trial for a crime.

Culpable Homicide as defined in the above case though the accused didn’t have the intention to kill the victim but eventually the reason for her death was because of his action of killing someone else.


We would like to conclude by saying that culpable homicide is not just an immoral act but also a serious offense. In today’s scenario as the intention to cause harm to any person are sudden and generally, people plan it and try to portray that the death was caused by just a mere accident. So SECTION 299 of The Indian Penal Code provides lawful justice to the victim and their beneficiaries.

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