by | Sep 13, 2023

The Indian Penal Code (IPC) outlines various offences related to causing harm to others, including two significant categories of crimes –

  1. Culpable Homicide &
  2. Murder

While both involve the act of causing death, there are distinct differences between the two –

1.CULPABLE HOMICIDE : Culpable Homicide is defined under Section 299 of the IPC. It refers to causing the death of a person by any act or omission that results in death, but without the intention to cause death. The act may be committed with the intention to cause injury or with knowledge that it would likely cause death. If someone causes the death of another person intentionally or by causing severe bodily harm that could lead to death, they can be punished with imprisonment for life or up to ten years, along with the possibility of a fine or if someone does an act without intending to cause death but knows it could lead to death or severe bodily harm, they could face imprisonment for up to ten years or a fine, or both.

Culpable homicide can be further classified into two categories: 

  • Culpable homicide not amounting to murder &
  • Culpable homicide amounting to murder.

Culpable Homicide Not Amounting to Murder : Under Section 300 of the IPC, Culpable Homicide is not considered murder if it falls under any of the following exceptions: 

a) The act was committed in the heat of passion, without premeditation and without prior intention. 

b) The act was committed in response to grave and sudden provocation. 

c) The act was committed in the belief that it was justified and intended to prevent greater harm. 

d) The act was committed by a public servant while exercising their official duty, provided it was done in good faith.

2. MURDER : Murder, on the other hand, is defined under Section 300 of the IPC and involves causing the death of a person with the intention to cause death or with the knowledge that the act is likely to cause death. Murder is a more severe offence than culpable homicide and attracts higher penalties, including life imprisonment or even the death penalty, depending on the circumstances of the case.The act of taking someone’s life intentionally carries the consequence of severe punishment, including the possibility of capital punishment or imprisonment for life, and may also result in the imposition of a fine.


  1. Definition : Murder refers to the intentional killing of another person with malice aforethought, while Culpable Homicide refers to the act of causing death but without the intention to kill. 
  2. Intent : Murder requires the specific intent to cause death or serious harm, whereas culpable homicide involves causing death through negligence or recklessness. 
  3. Degrees : Murder is often classified into different degrees based on the severity of the crime, such as first-degree murder, second-degree murder, etc. Culpable homicide, on the other hand, does not have such degree classifications. 
  4. Punishment : Murder is generally considered a more serious offence and carries heavier penalties, including long prison sentences or even capital punishment in some jurisdictions. Culpable Homicide, while still a serious offence, typically carries lesser penalties.
  5. Circumstances : Murder often involves premeditation or planning, while Culpable Homicide can occur in situations where there is an unintentional act resulting in someone’s death, such as a negligent accident.

Understanding the distinction between Culpable Homicide and Murder in the context of the Indian Penal Code is crucial to interpreting and applying the law correctly. While both involve the unfortunate act of causing death, the intention and circumstances behind the act play a crucial role in determining the severity of the offence.







Written By Nancy Sharma

I am Nancy Mahavir Sharma, a passionate legal writer and , a judicial service aspirant who is interested in legal researching and writing. I have completed Latin Legum Magister degree. I have been writing from past few years and I am excited to share my legal thoughts and opinions here. I believe that everyone has the potential to make a difference.

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