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Defined in section 299 of IPC Defined in section 300 of IPC
All Culpable Homicide are not Murder All Murders are Culpable Homicide
It is genus It is species
Indefinite Knowledge of death Definite Knowledge of death
Less severe punishment than murder Severe punishment
There is some intention Strong intention to cause a death
Less serious More serious
Life imprisonment or 10 years imprisonment, 10 years imprisonment or fine or both Life imprisonment, death penalty or fine
Example- A lays stick 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 and is killed, A has committed the offence of Culpable Homicide

Example-A intentionally gives Z a sword- cut or club- wound sufficient to cause the death of a man in the ordinary course of nature. Z dies in consequence. Here, A is guilty of murder, although he may not have intended to cause Z’s death.

In the following cases, the key distinction between murder and culpable homicide was brought up:

Melvill, J., in Reg v. Govinda, and Sarkaria, J., in State of A.P. v. R. Punnayya, effectively stated the contrast between the two: In the framework of the Penal Code, “culpable homicide” is genus and 'murder' is specie." All 'murders' are 'culpable homicides,' but not the other way around. 'Culpable homicide' without special features of murder' is culpable homicide that does not amount to murder. The IPC realistically recognizes three degrees of culpable murder for the purpose of determining a penalty appropriate to the seriousness of this general offence. The first is what is known as first-degree culpable homicide. This is the most serious kind of culpable homicide, which is described as "murder" under section 300. The second is referred to as "second-degree culpable homicide." The first half of Section 304 makes this illegal. Then there's what's known as 'culpable homicide in the third degree.' This is the least serious sort of culpable murder, and the punishment is likewise the least severe of the three classes. Part II of Section 304 punishes culpable homicide of this degree.


Milmadhub Sirchar v R (1885) was a case in which the dead was kicked and beaten repeatedly by the attacker, even after the victim had lost consciousness. In this instance, the court determined that the killer would have known that repeatedly hitting and kicking a person would almost certainly result in death. As a result, he was charged with murder.

The Supreme Court decided in Visra Singh v State of Punjab (1958) that if the perpetrator fails to show that the conduct was done accidently or unintentionally, the assumption is that he meant to cause a fatal damage to the victim of the crime.


In the State of Madras v. Nathan, the landlord attempted to remove the accused by force in this instance. While exercising his right to private defence, the accused killed the landlord. The accused had no fear of death since the deceased did not have any lethal weapon that might have caused severe injury or death to the accused. Because the accused's right to a private defence was breached because the dead had no intention of murdering him. The defendant was charged with culpable homicide rather than murder.

In another case, State of Uttar Pradesh v. Radhey Shyam and anr, 2018, When the appellant realised that his calf had arrived at the deceased's house, he was upset. The appellant started abusing the deceased, and when the latter tried to intercede, the appellant shot him. The appellant had the intent to murder the dead because he was unarmed at the time, and he was found guilty of murder.


Murder and culpable homicide are two overlapping but different offences. The difference lies in the criminal's 'intention' and 'knowledge' when committing the crime. They differ in terms of the likelihood of death or, to put it another way, the gravity of the offence. Assume the criminal commits a heinous crime or engages in dangerous behaviour that leads to the death of a person with no further repercussions. It is more likely to be classed as Murder rather than Culpable Homicide in those circumstances. Culpable homicide differs from murder in that it happens when the offender's actions leave the victim alive but in terrible pain with a possibility of survival.

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