Not all responsible homicides are murders.


The concept of Culpable Homicide

Culpable means:legally responsible for an action
Homicide means: Homo(man)+cede(cut), in Latin, meaning Killing of a human by a human. It may be Lawful or Unlawful

 Culpable homicide involves the illegal killing of a person either with or without an intention to kill.

The crime of culpable homicide is committed by someone who intentionally causes death, causes physical harm that could potentially result in death, or knows that his actions could potentially result in death. 

Related Acts


The Indian Penal Code, 1860

Under The Indian Penal Code, 1860, Culpable homicide” is defined as “Whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable.”.

There are two classes of Culpable Homicide:

  • Culpable Homicide Amounting to Murder: Known as simple murder.
  • Culpable homicide not amounting to Murder



Section 299, IPC: gives the definition of Culpable Homicide
Section 300, IPC: Culpable Homicide Amounting to Murder
Section 304, IPC: Culpable homicide not amounting to Murder

  • Section 304A, IPC: Causing death by negligence not amounting to culpable homicide.
  • Section 305 and 306, IPC: Suicide, Culpable homicide(Exemption 5 of Sec.300, IPC)
  • Section 308, IPC: culpable homicide not amounting to murder

Case Laws


State of Andhra Pradesh vs R. Punnayya.

Supreme Court made the following observation:

  1. Culpable Homicide is Genus and murder its Specie.
  2. All murders are cuclpable homicide but not vice-versa
  3. Recognized three Stages of Culpable homicide,

Ramesh Kumar vs State of Bihar

Supreme Court held that, if the bodily injury with no intention or knowledge as required in Sec 299, the offence is not culpable homicide.




Guilty of Culpable homicide or Murder

In Richpal Singh Meena vs Ghosh, the Supreme Court suggested a five-step enquiry.
1. Is there Homicide?
2. if yes, is it culpable or not?
3. is it Culpable homicide amounting to murder (sec.300) or not amounting to murder(sec.304)?
4. if it is not culpable homicide then sec 304A is applicable.
5. Sec 72 of the IPC invoked if no person is identified for the homicide.