"I realise that some of my criticisms may be mistaken; but to refuse to criticize judgements for fear of being mistaken is to abandon criticism altogether... If any of my criticisms are found to be correct, the cause is served; and if any are found to be incorrect the very process of finding out my mistakes must lead to the discovery of the right reasons, or better reasons than I have been able to give, and the cause is served just as well."

-Mr. HM Seervai, Preface to the 1st ed., Constitutional Law of India.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Recent Judgments

Culpable Homicide or Murder?

Raj Kumar v. State of Maharashtra. CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1233 OF 2009. date of Judgment 15-07-09

To decide whether an act is murder or culpable homicide, courts could take a three step approach.

Step 1

Ask the question whether the accused has done an act by doing which he has caused the death of another.

Proof of such causal connection between the act of the accused and the death leads to the second stage.

Step 2

Whether that act of the accused amounts to culpable homicide as defined in Section 299. If the answer to this question is prima facie found in the affirmative, the stage for considering the operation of Section 300 IPC is reached.

This is the stage at which the court should determine whether the facts proved by the prosecution bring the case within the ambit of any of the four clauses of the definition of murder contained in Section 300 IPC.

Step 3

If the answer to this question is in the negative, the offence would be culpable homicide not amounting to murder punishable under Part I or Part II of Section 304 IPC, depending, respectively, on whether second or third clause of Section 299 IPC is applicable.

If this question is found in the positive, but the case comes within any of the exceptions enumerated in Section 300 IPC, the offence would still be culpable homicide not amounting to murder punishable under the First Part Section 304 IPC.

The above are only broad guidelines and not cast-iron imperatives.

No comments: