BlogIndian Penal Code

Section 299 of Indian Penal Code, 1860


Culpable Homicide

S299. Culpable Homicide

Whoever causes death by doing an act 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 he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.

Explanation 1.

A person who causes bodily injury to another who is labouring under a disorder, disorder or bodily infirmity, and thereby accelerates the death of that other, shall be deemed to have caused his death.

Explanation 2.

Where death is caused by bodily injury, the person who causes such injury shall be deemed to have caused the death, although by resorting to proper remedies and skilful treatment the death might have been prevented.

Explanation 3.

The causing of the death of a child in the mother’s womb is not homicide. But it may amount to culpable homicide to cause the death of a living child, if any part of that child has been brought forth, though the child may not have breathed or been completely born.


(a) A lays sticks and turf over a pit, with the intention of thereby causing death, or with the knowledge that death is likely to be thereby caused. Z believing the ground to be firm, treads on it, falls in and is killed. A has committed the offence of culpable homicide.

(b) A knows Z to be behind a bush. B is not aware of this. A, intending to cause, or knowing it to be likely to cause Z’s death, induces B to fire at the bush. B fires and kills Z. Here B may be guilty of no offence; but A has committed the offence of culpable homicide

(c) A, by shooting at a fowl with intent to kill and steal it, kills B who is behind a bush; not knowing he was there. Here, although A was doing an unlawful act, he was not guilty of culpable homicide, as he did not intend to kill B, or to cause death by doing an act he knew was likely to cause death.


Death caused of a person other than intended

The accused, with the intention of killing A or whose life he had taken out considerable insurance without latter’s knowledge, in order to obtain the insured amount gave him some sweets mixed with a well-known poison like arsenic. The intended victim ate some of the sweets and threw the rest away which were picked up by two children who ate them and died of poisoning. It was held that the accused was liable for the murder of children though he intended only to kill A; Public Prosecutor vs Mushunooru Suryanarayana Moorty.

Difference between “culpable homicide” and “murder”

“Culpable homicide” is the genus while “murder” is its species. All murders are culpable homicides but all culpable homicides are not murders; Rampal Singh vs State of Uttar Pradesh.

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