Section 307 of IPC deals with the offence of attempt to commit murder. In order to constitute an offense under Section 307 IPC, two elements are essential. First, the intention or knowledge to commit murder. Secondly, the actual act of trying to commit the murder.
Thus, it must have both the necessary mens rea and actus reus. In other words, for offences under this section, all the elements of murder exist, except for the fact that death has not occurred. However, an attempt, in order to be criminal, need not be the penultimate (last but one in a series of things; second last) act foreboding death.
It is sufficient if there is present an intention to commit homicide coupled with some overt act in execution thereof. Such an overt act would have accomplished the intended crime had there been no extraneous and unanticipated intervention that frustrated its consummation.
Act Must be One Capable of Causing Death
To sustain a conviction under Section 307 of IPC, it is necessary to establish that had the accused succeeded in his attempt and the victim met With his death, then the offence committed would have been one punishable under Section 302 of IPC.
In a case before the Bombay High Court, the victim had received injuries, which were described by the doctor as dangerous and were likely to cause death. The doctor did not state that the injury was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, which alone would bring it within the purview of Section 300 IPC. In view of this, the high court held that an Offence under section 307 of IPC, was ruled out.
Intention and Ingredients of 307 IPC
The words ‘such intention’ found in“Section 307 of IPC”, refers to the intention referred to in Sec 300. It means:
- intention to cause death;
- intention to cause such bodily injury, which the offender knows is likely to cause death;
- intention to cause such bodily injury, which is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.
Thus, the intention to cause death is the essence of the offence of attempt to murder. The intention is something that precedes the actual attempt.
It has to be proved independently of the act or the actus reus. Once the necessary intention to commit murder is established, the ultimate result of the attempt will be immaterial, unless of course, the attempt results in murder, in which case, it will fall under Section 300, IPC. If the intention is not proved, then the accused cannot be convicted under this section.
However, intention is something which can be gathered from circumstances like the nature of the weapon used, the words used by the accused at the time of the act, the motive of the accused, the parts of the body where the injuries are caused, the nature of injuries and the severity and persistence of the blows given, etc.
JUDGMENTS ON SECTION 307 OF IPC
In Sarju Prasad v State of Bihar, the Supreme Court, while accepting the proposition that no injury need bemused in order to sustain a conviction under “Section 307 IPC”, held that the prosecution had led no evidence from which it could be inferred that the accused had an intention to kill the victim, or the requisite knowledge that the injuries caused by him are sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. Under the circumstances, the Supreme Court held that the offence would only amount to one under section 324 of IPC.
KNOWLEDGE 307 IPC
The word ‘intention’ and the term ‘knowledge’ used in “307 IPC”, refer to knowledge as found in Section 300(4). The term ‘knowledge’ refers to the ‘knowledge’ of the offender that the act done by him is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death or such bodily injury, as is likely to cause death.
In Liyakat Mian vs the state of Bihar the accused shot a person from very close quarters causing injuries on the abdomen and the left arm. It was held that from these circumstances, the knowledge that the injury caused by him would result in death could be imputed to the accused. The accused was convicted under 307 IPC.
MEANING OF ATTEMPT UNDER IPC
The question of whether a certain act amounts to the commission of a particular offence, is a question of fact dependent on the nature of the offence and the steps necessary to take, in order to commit it. No exhaustive and precise definition of what would amount to an attempt to commit an offence is possible.
There is a thin line of demarcation between the preparation for, and an attempt to, commit an offence. Undoubtedly, a culprit first intends to commit the offence, then make necessary preparations for committing it and thereafter attempts to commit the offence.
If the attempt succeeds, he has committed the offence; if it fails due to reasons beyond his control, he is said to have attempted it.
Attempt to commit an offence, therefore, can be said to begin when the preparations are complete and the culprit commences to do something with the intention of committing the offence, and which is a step towards the commission of the offence.
The moment he commences to do an act with the necessary intention, he commences his attempt to commit the offence. A person commits the offence of ‘attempt to commit a particular offence, when:
- he intends to commit that particular offence
- having made preparations and with the intention to commit the offence, he does an act towards its commission. Such an an need not be the penultimate act towards the commission of that offence, but must be an an during the course of committing that offence.
The act towards the commission of the murder need not be a single act. Nor does it mean that the immediate effect of the act committed must be death. Such a result must be the result of that act whether immediately or after a lapse of time.
The word ‘act’ does not mean only any particular specific instantaneous act of a person, but denotes, according to section 33, a series of actions as well. When an accused deliberately starved his wife and denied food to her for days together and did not allow her to leave his house, it was held that the course of conduct adopted by the accused in regularly starving the Wife in order to accelerate her end, came within the purview of Section 307 of IPC, though it was not the last act, which if effective, would cause death.