SECTION 302 IPC - Indian Penal Code - Punishment for murder



IPC Section-302


Description of IPC Section 302

According to section 302 of Indian penal code, Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

 

Offence : Murder


Punishment : Death or Imprisonment for Life + Fine


Cognizance : Cognizable


Bail : Non-Bailable


Triable : Court of Session







Punishment for Murder- Section 302

We often get to hear that the Court has found someone guilty of committing a crime of murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In cases like these, the Court penalizes the murderer either with death penalty or life imprisonment. However, a huge number of Indian population is yet unaware of what section 302 of IPC deals with. Here’s a glimpse of what section 302 is all about:

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What is Section 302 of IPC?

The Indian Penal Code was brought into force in the year 1862 during the British rule in India. Thereafter, with regard to the need of the society, amendments were made to the IPC time to time. The most important changes under the Indian Penal Code were particularly made after the Indian Independence. The importance of IPC was to such an extent that Pakistan and Bangladesh also adopted it for the purposes of criminal governance.

Similarly, taking reference from the basic structure of the Indian Penal Code, penal law in countries then under British rule such as Myanmar, Burma, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, etc. was also implemented.

Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code is important in many ways. Individuals accused of committing murder are prosecuted under this section only. Furthermore, if in case an accused of murder has been proven guilty of the crime, section 302 prescribes the punishment for such offenders. It states that whoever has committed murder shall be punished either with imprisonment for life or the death penalty (depending upon the severity of the murder) along with a fine. The primary point of consideration for the Court, in matters related to murder, is intention and motive of the accused. This is why it is important that the motive and intention of the accused is proved in cases under to this section.



What are the essential ingredients of murder?

The essential ingredients of murder include:

  • Intention: There should be an intention of causing death

  • Causing Death: The act must be done with the knowledge that the act is likely to cause the death of another.

  • Bodily Injury: There should be an intention to cause such bodily injury that is likely to cause death.

Illustrations:

  • A shoots B with an intention of killing him. As a result, B dies, murder is committed by A.

  • D intentionally gives a sword-cut to C that is sufficient to cause death of anyone in the ordinary course of nature. As a consequence, C dies. Here, D is guilty of murder though he did not intend to cause C's death.

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Scope of Section 302

Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code provides the punishment for murder. According to this Section whoever commits murder is punished with:

  • Death;

  • Life imprisonment;

  • The convict shall also be liable to fine.

The punishment under Section 302 of the IPC has been elaborated below for your kind perusal:



Death Penalty

Capital punishment or the death penalty is a legal process whereby a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a heinous crime. Death penalty in India is given for the rarest of rare cases. The criteria for a crime being “rarest of rare case” has not been defined. At least 100 people in 2007, 40 in 2006, 77 in 2005, 23 in 2002, and 33 in 2001 were sentenced to death (but not executed), according to Amnesty International statistics.

The Supreme Court in Mithu vs. State of Punjab struck down Section 303 of the Indian Penal Code, which provided for a mandatory death sentence for offenders serving a life sentence. In December 2007, India voted against a United Nations General Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty. In November 2012, India again upheld its stance on capital punishment by voting against the UN General Assembly draft resolution seeking to end the institution of capital punishment globally. On 31 August 2015, the Law Commission of India submitted a report to the government which recommended the abolition of capital punishment for all crimes in India, excepting the crime of waging war against the nation or for terrorism-related offences. The Law Commission report cited several factors to justify abolishing the death penalty, including its abolition by 140 other nations, its arbitrary and flawed application and its lack of any proven deterring effect on criminals. Many countries refuse to handover Indian fugitives because of the presence of capital punishment in India. India opposed a UN resolution calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, as it goes against Indian statutory law and the sovereign right of every country to determine their own legal system. In light of the above discussion, it is essential to elaborate on the below-mentioned two points:

1. Meaning of expression "Beyond Reasonable Doubt"

For a doubt to stand in the way of conviction of guilt it must be a real doubt and a reasonable doubt. If the data leaves the mind of the trial judge in doubt, the decision must be against the party having the burden of persuasion. If the mind of the adjudication tribunal is evenly balanced as to whether or not the accused is guilty, it is its duty to acquit the accused.

2. Examining Rarest of Rare Case in Imposing Death Penalty

Rarest of the rare case is the principle enshrined in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab (1980) (2 SCC 684) which limits the vast discretion of the court in imposing death penalty. Death as a highest punishment was removed from being a general rule to being awarded only in exceptional circumstances and that too after recording the special reason for imposing the highest punishment which cannot be reverted under any circumstance after its execution. The phrase "rarest of the rare" case still remains to be defined while the concern for human life, the norms of a civilised society and the need to reform the criminal has engaged the attention of the courts. The sentence of death has to be based on the action of the criminal rather than the crime committed. The doctrine of proportionality of sentence vis-a-vis the crime, the victim and the offender has been the greatest concern of the courts.

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Imprisonment for Life

There are three types of imprisonment namely solitary, rigorous and simple imprisonment. The imprisonment for life means the person is imprisoned for his lifetime. Section 53 of the Indian Penal Code provides that there can be certain types of punishments where imprisonment for life is also an accepted form of punishment. The term transportation for life was replaced with the term imprisonment for life in the year 1955. According to Section 302, imprisonment for life is also a punishment for committing murder. The imprisonment for life is not a violent punishment like the death penalty but it still affects the accused and the society.



Fine

A person charged with murder can also be liable to pay a fine along with the sentence as directed by the Court. The quantum of the fine to be paid by the convict would depend upon the discretion of the Court. The Court may take into consideration the manner in which the murder has been committed and after a thorough application of mind would award the right amount of fine to be paid by the accused.



Conviction of a Minor in a Murder Case

The children are the future of every nation, so it has to be carefully evaluated before providing them major punishments like the death penalty and life imprisonment for heinous crimes. The conviction should be based on the principles of law of evidence. Justice Lokur, who is the head of the chairman of the Supreme Court Juvenile Justice Committee, stated that “Every as said that juvenile convicts cannot be handed down capital punishment in every case pertaining to heinous crimes such as rape and murder. He stated that every person who is of around 17 years or close to 18 years cannot be awarded the death penalty just because they committed a heinous crime, a proper conclusion must be achieved after going through all the evidence which are related to the case”.

According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, the individuals who were under the age of 18 at the time of the crime cannot be executed. The Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 replaced the act that was in 2000. The act which was amended allows the persons of the age group from 16 years to 18 years can be tried as adults if they commit any heinous crimes like rape and murder. The main reason for passing the bill was the Delhi rape case, where one of the accused was 17 years old when committing the offence. He was tried separately by the juvenile court and was awarded only three years of imprisonment. This raised a lot of controversies and mandated there should be an amendment in the age of the juveniles who are committing heinous crimes.



Sentence to Co-accused in a Murder Case

The persons who are accused of the same crime will be awarded the same amount of punishment. The confession of the co-accused is provided under Section 30 in the Indian Evidence Act. The confession made by the co-accused has a proper evidentiary value and it affects himself and also the other accused. The parity principle ensures that a sentence should be similar to the same offenders or persons convicted of the same crime. This principle ensures fairness and equality while awarding the sentences.



Section 302 Not Applicable in Certain Cases

Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code dictates certain conditions for an individual to be proven guilty. Only when all the conditions prescribed under the section are met with, an accused is convicted under this section of the code. If in case, a matter registered under this section is not able to fulfill all the conditions prescribed thereunder, then the individual accused cannot be convicted under this section and the said matter will have to be pursued under some other provision of the Indian Penal Code.

As stated above, under section 302 the intention of the accused has to be proved, however, in some matters, a murder must have taken place but the accused may not have the intention to cause the same. In such cases, the matter will be pursued under section 304 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 304 deals with some prerequisites of culpable homicide and includes punishment for committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder. It penalizes an accused with imprisonment for life or jail time for 10 years instead of the death penalty along with a fine.

Some of the most popular cases in which section 302 was invoked are the Tandoor murder case, Jessica Lal murder case, Nitish Katara murder case. Similarly, in 2012 under the Brajendra Singh case also section 302 was invoked and the accused was penalized with the death penalty by a Madhya Pradesh Court. In all the above-mentioned cases, the Court validated the allegations and intention of the accused based on the testimonies submitted by the witnesses, and thereafter penalized the accused in accordance with the crimes committed by them.

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Where is Murder defined under the Indian Penal Code?

Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code defines murder as the act of hurt being caused by one person to another with the intention to kill or to inflict such bodily injury that in turn causes the death of such person or voluntarily does such act that causes the death of such person, then the person causing such death will be said to have committed murder under the provisions of section 299. As committing a murder is a criminal offense, the provision for punishment of this offense is provided for under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.



What is the difference between Murder and Culpable Homicide?

The thin line is the intention behind the act. All murders are culpable homicide but the vice-versa is not true. Ever since the IPC was enacted, this distinction as to which case will fall under which category is a perennial question with which courts are often confronted. On a plain reading of the relevant provisions of the Code, it appears that the given cases can be conveniently classified into two categories but when it comes to the actual application, the courts are often confronted with this dilemma. This confusion often emerges when it is difficult to interpret from the evidence whether the intention was to cause merely bodily injury which would not make out an offense of murder or there was a clear intention to kill the victim making out a clear case of an offense of murder. The most confusing aspect is 'intention' as in both the provisions the intention is to cause death. Hence, you have to consider the degree of the intention of offenders. If the person is killed in cold-blood or with planning then it is murder because the intention to kill is in a high degree and not out of sudden rage or provocation. On other hand, if the victim is killed without pre-planning, in a sudden fight, or in sudden anger because of somebody's provocation or instigation, then such a death is called culpable homicide. Hence, whether the act done is culpable homicide or murder is a question of fact.

The distinction between the two was aptly set forth by Sarkaria J., in State of A.P. v. R. Punnayya,((1976) 4 SCC 382) "In the scheme of the Penal Code, 'culpable homicide' is the genus and 'murder' its specie. All 'murder' is 'culpable homicide' but not vice versa. Speaking generally 'culpable homicide' sans 'special characteristics of murder' is culpable homicide not amounting to murder. For the purpose of fixing punishment, proportionate to the gravity of this generic offense, the IPC practically recognizes three degrees of culpable homicide. The first is what may be called, culpable homicide of first degree, this is the gravest form of culpable homicide which is defined in section 300 as 'murder'. The second may be termed as 'culpable homicide of the second degree'. This is punishable under the 1st part of Section 304. Then, there is 'culpable homicide of the third degree'. This is the lowest type of culpable homicide and the punishment provided for it is also the lowest among the punishments provided for the three grades, punishable under Part II of Section 304."



Exceptions to Section 300 of IPC where Culpable Homicide is not considered Murder

Clauses 1-4 of Section 300 provide the essential ingredients, wherein culpable homicide amounts to murder. Section 300 after laying down the cases in which culpable homicide becomes murder, states certain exceptional situations under which, if murder is committed, it is reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder punishable under section 304, IPC and not under section 302, IPC.

The exceptions are:

  • Grave and sudden provocation

  • Private defence

  • Exercise of legal power

  • Without premeditation in sudden fight and

  • Consent

The above-mentioned exceptions have been further elaborated below for a better understanding:

1. Grave and Sudden Provocation
If the offender is deprived of the power of self-control due to sudden and grave provocation, and his act causes the death of the person who provoked or death of any other person by accident or mistake.
This exception is subject to a certain proviso:

  • That the provocation is not sought or is voluntarily provoked by the offender to be used as an excuse for killing or causing any harm to the person.

  • That the provocation is not given by anything that is done in obedience to the law, or by a public servant while exercising the powers lawfully of a public servant.

  • That the provocation is not done while doing any lawful exercise of the right of private defence.


Example:
A is given grave and sudden provocation by C. A fires at C as a result of this provocation. A didn't intend or have knowledge that his act is likely to kill C, who was out of A's sight. A kills C. A is not liable to murder but is liable to culpable homicide.

2. Private Defence
When the person has a good faith while exercising his right of private defence of property or person exceeds the power that is given to him and thus causing the death of the person against whom he is exercising his right without any knowledge or intention of doing anything more which is necessary for such purpose.

If the accused exceeds his right of private defence intentionally then he will be liable for murder but if it is unintentional then he will be liable for culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Example: B attempts to flog A, not in such manner to cause grievous hurt to A. A draws out his pistol, B persists in the assault. A believing that he had no potion to prevent himself from being flogged fires at B. A is liable for the culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

3. Exercise of Legal Power
When any public servant or any person authorized by the public servant acts for the advancement of justice and exceeds their powers causing a death of person which in bonafide intention believes to be lawful and considered as necessary for the purpose of discharging his duty as a public servant and without ill treatment towards the person whose death is caused.

Example: A, police constable went to arrest the person. The arrested person was trying to abscond it. The police officer shoots him. A is not liable for murder.

4. Sudden Fight
Sudden fight means when the fight was unexpected or premeditated. There was no intention of either of the parties to kill or cause the death of any person.
It is not an important fact that which party has first assaulted or who have offered a provocation. However, the case falls under this section only when the death is caused by:

  1. In the sudden fight.

  2. In the heat of passion without any pre-planned arising from a sudden quarrel.

  3. The offenders taking no unfair advantage.

  4. The offenders not acting in an unusual or cruel manner.

  5. The fight must be between the accused and the person who is killed.


5. Consent
When the person gives consent to cause his /her death then it will be a culpable homicide not amounting to murder. However, the age of the person whose death is caused should be above the age of 18 years:

  1. Consent is given by the deceased.

  2. Consent needs to be free and voluntary.

Example: Anil, aged 16 years was abetted by A to commit suicide. Here, Anil was incapable to give his consent because he was immature and was below 18 years of age. A is liable for Murder.

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What is the minimum time for Bail when charged under Section 302?

There is no stipulated time limit defined under the Indian Penal Code for granting bail if you are charged under section 302. A case under section 302 of the IPC is a very serious crime and to get bail if you are accused with murder is also not an easy task. Whether an accused can get a bail in a murder case or not highly depends upon the facts and circumstances of the case. Moreover, if the evidence provided against the accused is very strong than it would further delay the bail process.

As per the recent observation by Supreme Court, if an offence is punishable with death then whatever the minimum punishment be, the period of investigation permissible would be 90 days. Similarly, if the offence is punishable with life imprisonment, even if the minimum sentence provided is less than 10 years, the period of detention before ‘default bail’ is available would be 90 days. Therefore, if a person is charged with an offence, which is punishable with death or life imprisonment, but the minimum imprisonment is less than 10 years, then also the period of 90 days will apply.

Supreme Court of India recently held that an accused is entitled to statutory bail (default bail) under Section 167(2)(a)(2) of Code of Criminal procedure if the police failed to file the charge-sheet within 60 days of his arrest for the offence punishable with ‘imprisonment up to 10 years.

In all cases where the minimum sentence is less than 10 years but the maximum sentence is not death or life imprisonment then Section 167(2)(a)(ii) will apply and the accused will be entitled to grant of ‘default bail’ after 60 days in case charge-sheet is not filed.



What to do if IPC 302 Bail Application is rejected by Court?

As stated above, it is not an easy task to obtain bail when charged with murder. There may also be instances where your bail application may get rejected. However, in case you have applied for bail and your bail application has been rejected, you have the option to file a review petition before the judge to review the order rejecting your bail application. Moreover, you can also challenge the order before a higher court if you think your case has merit. You can also file a second bail application if you have a new ground-based on which you are demanding bail.



What is the punishment for surrendering after committing Murder in India?

A person who commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life and shall also be liable to fine as per section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. Offence of murder is a Non-Bailable and Non Compoundable Offence (where a compromise cannot be done). Surrendering would not absolve a person who has committed an offence of Murder. However, if supported by sufficient causes as to why the act was committed, surrendering before the courts or the concerned authorities would help show the bonafide of the person concerned which may, in turn, lead the Court to be a little lenient while awarding the punishment.



How is a Murder Trial conducted in India?

In case the accused pleads not guilty for murder, the court calls upon the prosecution and fixes a day for examination of the witnesses. The court can allow cross-examination of any prosecution witness. Once all the evidence of the prosecution has been concluded and examined, the court calls upon the accused for his defence. As per Section 342 of the CrPC, the court has to examine and question the accused in order to enable the accused to explain any circumstantial appearing in the evidence presented by the prosecution against him. As under Section 232, after the examination of the accused the court post the case for hearing. If after hearing the prosecution and the accused the judge feel that there is no evidence that indicates that the accused has committed the offence then the judge can record an order of acquittal as mentioned under Section 232.

However, if after hearing under Section 232 the accused is not acquitted, then the accused can present his defence or any evidence which he might have in support thereof. After the conclusion of the defence evidence, the case final argument is called upon.

Final Argument
It is after the final arguments have been presented by the prosecution and accused the judge decides whether to acquit or convict the accused. According to Section 314 of the CrPC, any of the two-party in a proceeding can as soon as after the close of his evidence, before he concludes his oral arguments, if any, has to submit a memorandum to the court along with arguments in support of his case and a copy of the same to the opposite party.

Judgement
The judge either acquits or convicts the accused after the case has been presented by both sides. It is referred to as judgement.

As per Section 250 of CrPC, if an accused is discharged or acquitted and if the person who made the complaint against him is present then the court may call him to show why he should not pay any compensation to the accused. In case he is not present then summon is issued for the same.



What is the procedure to Appeal against a Murder conviction?

Once the court makes the decision the appellant has to make the appeal. Time allocated to give notice of appeal is different in different states. After that, the appellant will have to take the time to lodge the record. Court reporter and circuit clerk to prepare the record which can be quick or late. Appellants have a fixed amount of time to lodge the record which cannot be extended for a certain amount of time. Time is taken by the appellant to make the appeal and fill other paperwork is also a factor in how much time it takes. If the appeal court sends the case back to trial court it takes more time. After all of the process, it takes about an average of 20 months to complete the appeal. If you are lucky your process could end in weeks. But that rarely happens.

In a criminal case, the government cannot appeal if the defendant is found not guilty. The defendant can appeal the verdict if found guilty. With respect to the sentence that is imposed either side in a criminal case may appeal after a guilty verdict.

The appellant must show that the trial court made a legal error that affected the decision in the case. The appellant should prepare a written document or a brief to discuss the legal argument. In the brief, the appellant explains why the trial court’s decision should be reversed. Appellants cite previous court cases to support their claim. Appellee should submit a brief supporting the decision. They should prove that the trial court is completely right or errors of the trial courts are not significant.

A panel of three judges decide the verdict. The court of appeals does not receive additional evidence or hear witnesses; rather the Judges make their decision without additional evidence. They do it based on the written record of the case in the trial court, the briefs submitted by the parties, and possibly oral argument.

Few cases are decided by oral briefs and most cases are decided by oral arguments. You will need lawyers experienced in criminal defence to make those arguments. Despite the best efforts of appellants, very few appeals are actually successful. but this shouldn’t deter one from trying.



Things you need to consider when charged under Section 302

Being charged with a crime, similar to the one mentioned under section 302, is a serious matter. A person facing criminal charges risks severe penalties and consequences, such as jail time, having a criminal record, and loss of relationships and future job prospects, among other things. This is why a person charged with murder must prepare himself and keep in mind a few important things as mentioned below:

a) While some legal matters can be handled alone, a criminal arrest of any nature warrants the legal advice of a qualified criminal lawyer who can protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case. If you're facing criminal prosecution, a criminal defence lawyer can help you understand:

  1. The nature of the charges filed;

  2. Any available defenses;

  3. What plea bargains are likely to be offered; and

  4. What is expected after trial or conviction.


b) If you have been arrested you must know whether you are an Indian citizen or a non-citizen, you have certain rights when you are arrested as mentioned under the Constitution of India. These are as follows:

  1. The person so arrested has the right to inform his/ her family member, friend or relative as provided under Section 50 of the CrPC.

  2. The person so arrested cannot be detained for more than 24 hours without being presented before a magistrate. This is done to prevent unlawful and illegal arrests.

  3. The arrested person has the right to be medically examined.

  4. The right to remain silent – upon arrest, you are not required to speak or confess anything in front of the police. Anything you say can be taken against you and hence you have the right to not say anything in front of the police.

  5. You have a right to have a lawyer when you are questioned. In case you are not able to afford a lawyer, a lawyer will be appointed to you by the government.

  6. Right to be informed about the charges- As per Section- 50 of the CrPC as also Article 22 (2) of the Constitution of India, the person being arrested needs to be informed about the grounds of such person’s arrest. Section 50 (2) of the CrPC also states that such person needs to be informed whether the arrest has been made under a bailable or non-bailable offence. Bailable offences are those in which getting a bail is the right of the accused, whereas in case of non-bailable offences bail is granted as per the discretion of the court.

  7. If you are arrested for a serious crime, you must contact a lawyer as soon as possible because a lawyer has a better understanding of what should be said before the police. The lawyer will also be able to assist you in getting bail.

c) When an accused and his defense lawyer prepare the defense’s version of events, a defendant should be aware of the following things, including:

  1. Attorney-client privilege protects any statements you make in confidence to your attorney. Therefore, being honest and open to your attorney’s questions is the best route of mounting a sound legal defense.

  2. When determining the defense version of events, you and your attorney are not concocting a grand lie, but rather, using the existing evidence and future evidence as a means of corroborating your version of the crimes in question.

  3. The version of events is the basis of preparing objective counterarguments to the charges and evidence brought forth by prosecutors. This defense strategy, and in turn the version of events, may be added to, altered, or changed during the course of a trial.



Testimonials

  1. “My son was the prime suspect in a murder case. He was wrongly charged as the person who committed the crime had very cleverly asked him to be present at the crime scene to frame him and had himself vanished. However, since my son was arrested at the crime scene, the case was very strong against him. Upon his arrest I immediately filed a bail application in consultation with my criminal lawyer. After an 18 months long battle in the Court, the Court decided in our favour and granted bail to my son. “

-Mr. Lalit Suri

  1. “My husband had killed a goon in self-defence while protecting me and our child. However, he was charged with murder and was arrested immediately as the police arrived. He stayed imprisoned for almost 2 years before the Court acquitted him from the murder charge. Upon consultation with the lawyer only we could understand the many technicalities involved in the case and could make a solid case for ourselves in the Court.”

-Mrs. Naina Sood

  1. “I had filed a case of murder on my brother who killed our father when he refused to give him a share in his property. I consulted a lawyer from LawRato.com who guided me through every step of the case and helped me get him the rightful sentence for committing such a heinous crime. The case went on for around 8 years during which my brother was imprisoned.”

-Mr. Angesh Singh

  1. “My father got murdered by some person who administered him poison. Somehow other party managed to change viscera report with help of a corrupt police officer. Later, police submitted final report. In that report they stated bayan of accused who already died. One of the accused died on 10th January but police stated the date of his bayan as 6th may. With the help and advice of the lawyer we managed to get the report dismissed and got the culprit imprisoned for life.

-Mr. Manoj Sethi

  1. “I was charged with murder of my wife who was found dead in a hotel where we stayed while on holiday. The police arrived and arrested me. However, I was not on the crime scene when the murder took place and had gone to a nearby medical store to buy medicines. I consulted a lawyer who advised me to apply for bail. I took his advice and filed the bail application. I also presented the CCTV footage of the medical store I had visited that proved my alibi. Upon careful consideration of the case, the Court granted me bail and I was finally free. The case is still going on and the real culprit is under trial.”

-Mr. Somesh Gupta

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Important cases and judgments related to murder

  1. K.M. Nanavati vs. State of Maharashtra, 1961 (AIR 1962 SC 605):

In this case, the Supreme Court had extensively explained the law relating to provocation in India. It was observed by the court:

The test of "sudden and grave provocation" is whether a reasonable man, who belongs to the same society as the accused, is placed in the situation in which the accused was placed would have been so provoked as to lose his self-control.

Under certain circumstances, words and gestures may also lead to sudden and grave provocation to an accused, so as to bring his act under an exception.

The mental background of the victim can be taken into consideration, taking account of his previous act to ascertain whether the subsequent act leads to sudden and grave provocation for committing the offense.

The fatal blow clearly should trace the influence of passion that arises from the sudden and grave provocation. It should not be after the provocation has cooled down due to a lapse of time, otherwise, it will give room and scope to the accused for altering the evidence.

  1. Muthu Vs. State of Tamil Nadu, ((2007) ILLJ 9 MAD)

In this case, it was held by the Supreme Court that constant harassment might deprive the power of self-control, amounting to sudden and grave provocation.

When the person exceeds his right to private defense: Act of private defence can said to have been exercised, when the act is committed in order to defend oneself from further harm. If the accused intentionally exceeds his right to private defense, then he is liable to murder. If it is unintentional, then the accused will be liable to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Example:
X attempts to flog Y, not in a manner to cause grievous hurt to Y. A pistol is drawn out by Y, X persists the assault. Y believes that he had no way to prevent himself from being flogged by X, Y fires at X. X is liable to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

  1. Nathan Vs. State of Madras, AIR 1973 SC 665

In this case the landlord was trying forcefully to evict the accused. The accused killed the landlord while exercising his right to private defense. There was no fear of death to the accused as the deceased was not holding any deadly weapon that could have caused grievous hurt or death of the accused. The deceased had no intention to kill the accused, thus, the accused exceeded his right of private defence. The accused was liable to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

The act is done by a public servant who is acting to promote public justice. If the public servant commits an act which is necessary to discharge his duty as is done in good faith and he believes it to be lawful.

Example:
If the police officer goes to arrest a person, the person tries to run away and during that incident, if the police officer shoots the person, the police officer will not be guilty of murder.

  1. Dakhi Singh vs. State, 1955

In this case the appellant was the constable of Railway Protection Force, while he was on duty, he killed a fireman unintentionally, while he was firing bullet shots to catch the thief. The constable was entitled to benefit under this section.

Sudden Fight and Rage: The sudden fight is when the fight is unexpected or premeditated. Both the parties don't have any intention to kill or cause the death of another. The fact that which party had assaulted or offered a provocation first is not important.

  1. Radhey Syam and An. Vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2018

In this case, the appellant was extremely angry when he got to know that his calf had come to the deceased place. The appellant started abusing the deceased, when the latter tried to stop him, the appellant fired at the deceased. The deceased was unarmed at that time, thus, the appellant had an intention to kill the deceased, and hence, he was held liable for murder.

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Why do you need a lawyer in cases related to section 302 of the Indian Penal Code?

Being charged with a crime, whether major or minor, is a serious matter. A person facing criminal charges risks severe penalties and consequences, such as jail time, having a criminal record, and loss of relationships and future job prospects, among other things. While some legal matters can be handled alone, a criminal arrest of any nature warrants the legal advice of a qualified criminal lawyer who can protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

If you're facing criminal prosecution, a criminal lawyer can help you understand:

  • The nature of the charges filed;

  • Any available defenses;

  • What plea bargains are likely to be offered; and

  • What is expected after trial or conviction.

This is why it is important to have a criminal lawyer by your side to help you when charged with a crime as heinous as the one mentioned under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

FAQ's on IPC Section 302


What offence is defined under IPC 302?

IPC 302 Offence: Murder.


What is the punishment for IPC 302 Case?

The punishment for IPC 302 is Death or Imprisonment for Life + Fine.


Is IPC 302 cognizable offence or non-cognizable offence?

IPC 302 is a Cognizable.


How to file/defend your case for IPC 302 offence?

Use LawRato for filing/defending your case under IPC 302 with the help of best criminal lawyers near you.


Is IPC 302 bailable or non-bailable offence?

IPC 302 is a Non-Bailable offence.


In what court can IPC 302 be tried?

IPC 302 is tried in the court of Court of Session.


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