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principles of section 299 and 300



Death by effect of words - Authors of the Code envisaged a possibility where death can be caused by the effect of words . "The reasonable course in our opinion is to consider speaking as an act and to treat A as guilty of voluntary culpable homicide , if by speaking he has voluntary caused Z's death whether his words operated as circuituously by inducing Z to swallow poison or directly by throwing Z into convulsions" - Note M p. 142


word 'act' in all the clauses of Section 299 or Section 300 denotes not only a single act but also a series of acts taken as a single act. When a number of persons participate in the commission of a criminal act the responsibility may be individual that is to say, that each person may be guilty of a different offence or all of them may be liable for the total result produced. This depends on the intention and knowledge of the participants. The subject is then covered by Sections 34, 35 and 38 of the Code


DEATH MUST BE CAUSA CAUSANS NOT CAUSA SINE QUA NON : SOBHA V. EMPORER AIR 1935 OUDH 446

explanation 2 of section s 299 of the Indian Penal Code. This explanation provides that

where death is caused by bodily injury, the person who causes such bodily injury shall be deemed to have caused the death, although by resorting to proper remedies and skilful treatment, the death might have been prevented. The evidence of the Civil Surgeon shows that in this case the immediate cause of death was.septic meningitis and that the sepsis was due to the SoBHA neglect in treatment and the application of some village poultice which was found on the left side of the head . My reading of the evidence is that the injury itself was not such as would in the natural course result in death but that the death was caused by the intervening circumstances, namely sepsis consequent to the bad handling of the wound and the application o£ the village poultice. In other words, it seems to me that the case is one of the death being caused by the use of wrong remedies and unskilful treatment rather than one in which the death were caused by the bodily injury, although by resorting to proper and skilful treatment it might have been prevented. EVERY MAN IS PRESUMED TO INTEND THE RATIONAL CONSEQUENCES OF HIS ACT:

Dibia vs State on 22 February, 1952

The appellant did in fact inflict the injury on the head of the deceased with an axe which resulted in his death and consequently the appellant was rightly convicted of having caused the death. Causing of a serious injury oh a vital part of the body of the deceased with a dangerous weapon, like an axe, must necessarily lead to the inference that the appellant intended to kill the deceased. He was, therefore, clearly guilty of murder.


With the intention to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death : It means that the person intended to cause the "injury" which resulted in death or was likely to cause death. It is not the death itself which was the intended result of such person. Thus, where bodily injury sufficient to cause death is inflicted its immaterial to go in the question of "intention" to cause death. Difference between "intention to cause death" and " injury likely to cause death" is the degree of criminality but for the purpose of law , it makes no distinction in punishment as object for both is same. Illustration : Where a police officer arrests a thief and mercilessly beats him in his custody , result of which is death of thief . The police officer is guilty of culpable homicide. However , connection between the act and the death caused by the act must be direct and distinct ; and although not immediate it must also not be too remote. Illustration : If a person jumps in the well to save himself from two chasing persons . The act of the deceased was the cause of his death and it was not caused by the chasing persons . (vide Joginder Singh v. state of punjab AIR 1979 SC 1876) Knowledge :

Knowledge and intention should not be confused. Section 299 in defining first two categories does not deal with the knowledge whereas it does in relation to the third category. It would also be relevant to bear in mind the import of the terms "likely by such act to cause death". Herein again lies a distinction as `likely' would mean probably and not possibly. When an intended injury is likely to cause death, the same would mean an injury which is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death which in turn would mean that death will be the most probable result.


The distinction between knowledge and intention. Knowledge in the context of Section 299 would, inter alia, mean consciousness or realization or understanding. The distinction between the terms `knowledge' and `intention' again is a difference of degrees. An inference of knowledge that it is likely to cause death must be arrived at keeping in view the fact situation obtaining in each case. The accused must be aware of the consequences of his act.


Knowledge denotes a bare state of conscious awareness of certain facts in which the human mind might itself remain supine or inactive whereas intention connotes a conscious state in which mental faculties are roused into activity and summed up into action for the deliberate purpose of being directed towards a particular and specific end which the human mind conceives and perceives before itself. (vide Kesar Singh & Anr vs State Of Haryana on 29 April, 2008)

Knowledge within its ambit will also include gross negligence .

Jai Prakash v. State (Delhi Administration) [(1991) 2 SCC 32], stating :


"...We may no