Murder according to section 300 is an odious offense that is punishable under section 302 of IPC. The section classifies a culpable homicide as murder when it is done to cause death or if it is done to cause some bodily injury which is sufficient to cause death. Every culpable homicide will not be considered as murder there are some exceptional circumstances stated in section 300 and such culpable homicide is chargeable under section 304.
EXCEPTIONS TO SECTION 300
Apart from the definition of murder section 300 also states some exceptional situations where someone accused of murdering an individual will be held liable under section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) instead of section 302. With the benefit of these exceptions, one cannot waive off the entire conduct but can reduce the impact of the offense.
EXCEPTION 1 – SUDDEN AND GRAVE PROVOCATION
Exception 1 states that if the offender whilst deprived of the power of self-control by the grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the one who gave the provocation or causes the death of some other person then it be considered as culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The above exceptions are subject to the subsequent previous:
- The suffered party must have provoked the accused
- The provocation must be sudden and grave
- The accused shouldn’t have any malaise intention and also the provocation mustn’t be voluntary.
KANDASWAMY RAMARAJ V. THE STATE POLICE INSPECTOR
In this case, the accused person was a retired army man and he was accused of shot assassinating an urchin who trespassed his defense enclave and tried to pluck fruits, almonds. The accused person was held guilty and was sentenced to imprisonment for a lifetime and a fine of rupees 50,000.
The accused filed an appeal in the Supreme Court. The apex court opined, by paying due respect to the temperament of the appellant, as gathered upon evidence, within the course of the frequent ruin-ins of those children for plucking almonds and mangoes. It considered the incident to be the result of the frequent provocation by children and there was no intent to murder therefore offender was given the advantage for exception 1. The court also held that the accused must be convicted under section 304 and not under section 302.
EXCEPTION 2 –EXCEEDING THE RIGHT OF PERSONAL DEFENCE
If a person murders while discharging his right of private defense given by law with straightness then he will not be held liable for murder. The offender must have exceeded his right only in good faith without any premeditated intent to kill the person against whom he exercised such defense.
NANDHAN VS STATE OF MADRAS
In this case, when the owner tried to expel the accused in the exercise of his right of personal defense killed the deceased. At the time of the incident, only the accused was armed. The accused had the right to cause any harm apart from death. But the act was unintentional so it had been clear that the accused exceeded his right of personal defense and therefore the case falls under exception 2 of section 300. And the accused was sentenced for committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
EXCEPTION 3 –LEGAL POWER
Exception 3 states that, if a public servant acting in good faith, believing that his act is lawful and necessary for the public wellbeing, unknowingly exceeds his power and thus if it leads to the death of some other person then he will be held liable under section 304.
DUKSHI SINGH VS STATE
The constable of Railway protection the force was on duty while travelling from Banaras to Allahabad, the train stopped at Handia Khas station. The appellant found a man standing near the wagon, the appellant had some suspicion about the man and arrested him. The person tried to escape and jumped out of the train. The appellant on the order of his superior discharged his duty by firing at the accused. But instead of hitting the arrested person, he hit the fireman by mistake. It was held that it was purely an accident and the appellant had the benefit of the exception.
EXCEPTION 4 –WITHOUT ANY INTENTION IN AN UNEXPECTED FIGHT
One can earn the benefit when death is caused in an exceedingly sudden fight with none intention of committing such an offense, the offense must be a result of sudden quarrel only then it can earn the mitigation of exception 4. The offender shouldn’t have acted in cruelly or in an unusual manner.
RADHEY SHYAM VS STATE OF UP
The deceased informed that his calf had come to the place of the deceased and abused the deceased. There was a rigorous fight between the deceased and the appellant. While stopping the abuses the appellant shot the other person. At the time of the fight, the appellant had a weapon but the deceased was unarmed. The accused claimed for culpable homicide under this exception but he has held the intention to kill.
EXCEPTION 5 – CONSENT OF THE DECEASED
When a person who has attained the status of an adult takes the risk of death with his/her consent then it will be considered as culpable homicide and not as murder.
- The deceased must be a major.
- The consent of the deceased must be out of his/her own choice and voluntary.
DARSHRATH PASWAN VS STATE OF BIHAR
Darshrath was a student of class X, who had been failed in his exams for the past three years. Due to depression, he decided to kill himself. He had a wife at the age of 19. When he informed about his decision to his wife, she insisted to kill herself in the first place. He killed her first and before he could kill himself he got arrested. The court satisfied under this exception and sentenced him under section 304.
Author(s) Name: V. Chithra (Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai)
 On 16 April, 2019.
 Nandhan vs. State of Madras, AIR 1973 SC 665.
 On 3 February 1955.
 On 20 August 2018.
 On 19 January 2012.