If you want to understand section 304 of IPC, then first you have read section 299 of IPC which talks about culpable homicide. Section 300 of IPC is also important because it talks about culpable homicide amounting to murder. So lets began with section 299 of IPC.
- The essential ingredients of section 304 of IPC :
- PUNISHMENT FOR CULPABLE HOMICIDE IPC 304
- Case laws and latest judgement of section 304 of IPC
Section 299 defines ‘culpable homicide’, it is not an exhaustive definition. It is important to remember that section 300 IPC also defines culpable homicide, but which amounts to murder. Before going into further details about distinctions between section 299 and section 300 lPC. it is important to understand the sections.
The essential ingredients of section 304 of IPC :
- there must be the death of a person;
- the death should have been caused by the act of another person; and
- the act causing death should have been done with:
- the intention of causing death; or
- the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or
- with the knowledge that such an act is likely to cause death.
The definition itself provides for three circumstances, wherein the presence or absence of certain factors in causing death is nevertheless treated as causing culpable homicides These circumstances are dealt with in explanations 1-3 of 304 IPC.
Explanation 1 provides for a situation where the injured person is suffering from some disorder, disease or bodily infirmity, which quickened his death. The fact that his death was quickened or hastened by the disorder or disease he was already suffering from, will not reduce the guilt or culpability of the person causing the injury. In other words, the person who caused the injury cannot escape criminal liability of culpable homicide by stating that if the person injured did not suffer from the said disease or disorder, he would not have died.
Explanation 2 provides for a situation wherein a person who has been injured could have recovered and escaped death, if, he had been given prompt and proper medical treatment. In such situations too, the fact that the injured person died because he could not avail of good medical treatment, cannot be a ground for negating guilt or culpability 0f the person who inflicted the injury in the first place.
Explanation 3 is in respect of a slightly different situation. It takes into consideration death caused to a child in the mother’s womb. The law states that if the death of the Child is caused when still in the mother’s womb. it is not culpable homicide. However, if my portion of the child, comes out of the mother’s womb, even if it is not fully horny and if death is mused to such a child, then it would amount to culpable homicide.
PUNISHMENT FOR CULPABLE HOMICIDE IPC 304
Section 304 IPC – Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Whoever commits culpable homicide not amounting to murder, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death;
or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, or with fine, or with both, if the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death but without any intention to cause death, or to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.
Section 304 OF IPC prescribes the punishment for the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The sentence under this section is divided into two parts, popularly referred to as 304 IPC, PART I and section 304 IPC, PART II, though the section itself does not separate the Parts in this manner.
The punishment prescribed under this section varies With a wide range from imprisonment for life to the imposition of a mere fine, though it is a comprehensive section dealing with the single offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The varying sentences depend on the degree of intention and knowledge of causing death that is imputed to the accused.
Section 304 IPC prescribes a sentence of imprisonment for life or imprisonment of either for a term up to ten years and fine, if, the act is done with the intention of causing death:
or causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death. This clause corresponds to clause (a) and (b) of section 299 IPC. This Part also covers cases wherein an offence of culpable homicide does not amount to murder, on account of the Fact that the act falls within one of the exceptions to section 300.
Section 304 IPC thus applies to culpable homicide, wherein the accused has the intention either to muse death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death. If the offender has the intention to cause bodily injury accompanied with the knowledge that such injury is likely to cause the death of the person injured as defined in section 300 IPC, cl (2), then the offence will come under section 302 and not under 304 IPC, Pt I, unless it Falls under any of the five exceptions under sec 300 IPC.
A reference to 304 IPC, Pt I, clearly shows that this pan covers offences where the intention to commit the offence is present. Section 304 IPC, Pt 11, applies to offences where the act is done with the knowledge that it is likely to muse death but without any intention to cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to muse death.
This clause corresponds to cl (c) of section 299. However, if an offence is committed with the knowledge that it is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and such an is done without any excuse, then the offence will be taken out of the purview of 304 IPC, Pt II, and would be covered under section 302, as the offence would amount to murder under 300, cl(4). Thus, the knowledge referred to in Pt Il of section 304 of IPC is of a lesser degree than the special knowledge referred to in cl (4) of s 300.
The questions whether the accused had the knowledge that his act was likely to cause the death, is a question of fact that has to be decided depending on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Thus, the distinction between section 304, Pt I, and section 304 of IPC, Pt II, is that Pt I applies only to acts done with intention to cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, whereas Pt II applies to acts which are done without any intention to cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, but which are done with the knowledge that the act is likely to cause death. The offence under section 300, Pt I is of higher degree than that under its Pt II. The intention and knowledge prescribed under this section are of a lesser degree than that which is described under section 300 IPC.
Case laws and latest judgement of section 304 of IPC
Hardev singh vs State of Punjab
In Hardev singh vs State of Punjab the accused aimed a blow at the deceased’s son when the deceased lay herself upon her son in order to save him. The accused inflicted a kirpan blow on the head of the deceased. The deceased died as a result of the head injury. The injury in the Opinion of the doctor was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. However, the intention of the accused was to assault the son of the deceased who had received only simple injuries. It indicated that the accused did not intend to kill the deceased son or want any grievous hurt to him. So, therefore from the facts and circumstances of the case, it was held that the accused did not intend to must injury which was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, but had knowledge that the injury is likely to cause death. The accused was convicted under “section 304of IPC” Pt II.
Vishwanath v state of Uttar Pradesh
In Vishwanath v state of Uttar Pradesh the accused had stabbed the accused with a knife» which entered the heart of the deceased while the deceased was attempting to take away by force the wife and the sister of the accused. The Supreme Court held that the (256 would fall under sec 304 IPC, Pt II )
M T Nambiar v State of Kerala
In M T Nambiar v State of Kerala, the Supreme Court refused to impute an intention to kill on the part of the appellant who gave one blow with a pair of scissors on the chest of the deceased. It inferred that he had knowledge that any injury on the vital part of the body of the deceased would cause death. Therefore, the court convicted him under sec 304 IPC, Pt II.
Ruli Ram v State of Haryana,
In Ruli Ram v State of Haryana,“ wherein the accused took lives of two boys aged between 10 and 12 years of a family whose members refused to vote for a particular candidate, the Supreme Court, reversing order of the High Court convicting the accused under section 302 and restoring that of the trial court, held the accused guilty under section 304 of IPC, Pt II, of the IPC. From facts of the court found that the intention of the accused Was not to kill the deceased boys but to create some disturbance at the polling Station to divert the attention of the crowd collected to facilitate the booth capturing. The court held that the accused did not have any intention to kill the deceased, as they did not “use any injury to the deceased before they were thrown into the pond. There was no attempt to strangulate them. The court, therefore, attributed them the knowledge of the natural consequence of their act, namely, the death of the deceased.”
Kedar Prasad v State of Madbya Pradesh
Kedar Prasad v State of Madhya Pradesh decided by the Supreme Court illustrates the operation of ” 304 IPC”. One of the three accused persons who assaulted the deceased, struck on the head, the second caused simple injuries on the knee and arm of the deceased, while the third accused inflicted simple blows on him. The Supreme Court held the first guilty under sec 304 IPC, Pt I, on the ground of his intentional fatal blow, while the second and third accused were held responsible under s 324 and 323, respectively. The Court also refused to invoke section 304 of the IPC, against them. But in Katy v State of Kerala, wherein it held both the accused, who were armed with weapons attacked the deceased, guilty under s 304, Pt 1/34, IPC.48
Atmaram v State of Madhya Pradesh
In Atmaram v State of Madhya Pradesh, the Supreme Court was urged to convert the conviction of the appellants under section 302 to under section 304 of IPC, Pt II or 326 as none of the injuries caused was on the vital part of the deceased and it in itself was insufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause the death. The appellants, therefore, had the intention to kill the deceased. Hence, they deserved the conviction under s 326 or s 304, Pt II, and