The concepts of murder and culpable homicide are arguably the most complicated of provisions
within the Indian Penal Code (IPC)1. Considering this, the distinction between the two has often
been the cause of much worry amongst jurists. While culpable homicide is the genus, murder is
its species.2 This is the rule followed by jurists in the country over the years.
In the present case situation a number of questions may be raised; whether Mr. Odi who attacked
Asho with a golf club, which due to a benign brain tumour turned fatal and ultimately caused the
death of Asho, may be charged with murder or culpable homicide? Whether the rule of sudden
and grave provocation can be applied to the present factual situation? Whether Mr Odi can plead
under the exceptions to the rule of murder or culpable homicide as laid down in the IPC?
CONTENTIONS FOR THE PROSECUTION:
The given factual situation leaves little doubt that Mr. Odi has committed culpable homicide.
It is evident from the facts that the fatal act satisfies all the essential ingredients of culpable
homicide, which can be summarised as follows:
a. ‘there must be a death of a person;
b. the death should have been caused by the act of another person;
c. the act causing death should have been done:
i. with the intention of causing death; or
ii. with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death; or
iii. with knowledge that such act is likely to cause death.’3
In the given factual situation, Mr. Odi had the knowledge of the tumour and hence, the offence
may be said to amount to culpable homicide. Moreover, a person who causes an injury cannot
escape criminal liability by stating that if the person injured did not suffer from the said disease
or disorder; he would not have died, as far as culpable homicide is concerned.4 This considered
the question that then arises is whether Mr. Odi’s act is culpable homicide amounting to...