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EADigest > Criminal law


3 yrs ago

What is the punishment for an attempt to commit Culpable Homicide in IPC?

Author: EA Digest
Category : Criminal law

In the wake of modernization and urbanization, we are also becoming a society which is highly intolerant. We are also living in the times where the crime rate is at an all-time high, and we battle the challenge to maintain a safe environment for our loved ones and us. This brings us to the topic of discussion for today which is what is termed as Culpable Homicide and what is the punishment prescribed for it in Indian Penal Code, 1860.

What is Culpable Homicide, Section 299 IPC

To understand what is termed as an attempt to commit culpable homicide, it is essential to understand the definition of ‘culpable’(meaning; deserving blame) ‘homicide’(meaning; the killing of one person by another). Sec 299 of the Indian Penal Code describes culpable homicide as any act by someone which causes death, or the act was committed with the intention of causing death or a bodily injury which will cause death or had reasonable knowledge that such act will cause death is said to have committed culpable homicide.’

Illustration: Raju, knows Shaam is standing behind a bush. Ram does not know that Shaam is standing behind the bush, Raju intending to cause, or likely to cause Shaam’s death, induces Ram to fire at the bush. Ram fires and kills Shaam.

Here Ram may be guilty of no offence; but Raju has committed the offence of culpable homicide.

Punishment for Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 IPC

Sec 304 of the Indian Penal Code deals with punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It states that whoever is guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder shall be punished with imprisonment which may range from ten years to life with or without fine.

The life imprisonment is applicable in the cases where the act intended to cause death or an injury which will cause death.

However if the accused knows that the act or bodily injury may cause death, but did not have an intention of causing death, the imprisonment term may extend up to ten years.

Section 308 IPC

The Indian Penal Code, 1860 vide its sec 308 sheds light on the punishment for the offense of attempt to commit culpable homicide. As per this section any person who is guilty of any act with the intention or knowledge under such circumstances that if death is caused by their act, they will be guilty of Culpable Homicide not amounting to murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of a term extending up to three years with or without fine.

It is also important to note that if hurt is caused to any person by such act, the term may extend up to seven years with or without fine.

Both of the above offenses are cognizable and nonbailable offenses. However, they are not compoundable and can be tried by session courts.


From the above explanation, the following points can be termed as essentials to establish an offense under Section 308 of IPC.

  1. There was an attempt and intent to commit the crime
  2. The accused had knowledge of the situation under which he will not be charged with murder
  3. The accused had the knowledge that his act may cause death or an injury which may lead to the cause of death

The case of Smr Narinder Kaur Oberoi & ORS vs. State NCT of Delhi, 2015 judgment is a classic example where the court ruled that “due to lack of proper circumstantial evidence no offense could be made out under Section 308 of IPCâ€.

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