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CULPABLE HOMICIDE

Submitted by

Varun Pawar

BBA LLB 1st year

Submitted to

Mrs.Deepshika Khasa

SRM University

Delhi NCR

March 2018

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TABLE OF CONTENT

Introduction..................................................................................................... 4

Culpable homicide

 Meaning...............................................................................................5
 Intention...............................................................................................7
 Motive .................................................................................................8
 Causing bodily injury likely to cause death.........................................8
 Knowledge...........................................................................................10
 Explanation 1........................................................................................12
 Explanation 2........................................................................................13
 Explanation 3........................................................................................14

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TABLE OF CASES

Balwinder singh v/s state of punjab...................................................................................6

Kedar prasad v/s State.......................................................................................................8

Sarabjeet singh v/s State....................................................................................................8

Desigamani v/s State of Madras........................................................................................ 9

Alex Martin Fernandez v/s State of Maharashtra.............................................................. 9

Kannan v/s State................................................................................................................10

Meerapuri v/s State of Nagaland.......................................................................................10

Durgadevi v/s State............................................................................................................11

Laxman kalu v/s State........................................................................................................11

Takhaji hiraji v/s Thakore Chamansingh............................................................................11

Vishnu Mohan v/s State......................................................................................................12

Ruli ram v/s State of Haryana.............................................................................................12

Sellapan v/s State of Tamil nadu........................................................................................13

Mussamat buddho v/s Crinn...............................................................................................14

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INTRODUCTION

The word homicide is derived from two Latin words - homo and cido. Homo means human and
cido means killing by a human. Homicide means killing of a human being by another human
being. A homicide can be lawful or unlawful. Lawful homicide includes situations where a
person who has caused the death of another cannot be blamed for his death. For example, in
exercising the right of private defense or in other situations explained in Chapter IV of IPC
covering General Exceptions. Unlawful homicide means where the killing of another human is
not approved or justified by law. Culpable Homicide is in this category. Examples of excusable
homicides are the general exceptions given under sections 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 87, 88 and 92,
while those of justifiable homicides are the general exceptions given under sections 76, 77, 78,
79, 81, 100, 103 and 106. Unlawful homicides under the Code have been mentioned under
sections 299, 300 and 304-A. Culpable means blame worthy. Thus, Culpable Homicide means
killing of a human being by another human being in a blameworthy or criminal manner.
Turning to the English law of Homicide, in all periods it has regarded the killing of a human
being as a deed of utmost gravity the simple fact that a death has been caused to a man’s active
conduct involved him in the liability for which hardly any execuses were admitted. But
nowadays it is the subjective element of mens rea which is of the first importance which has
bought about divisions of homicide in several grades. The first kind of unlawful homicide has
been designated as culpable homicide under section 299 of the Code. ‘Culpable’ means
blameworthy, faulty or criminal. Since ‘homicide’ means killing of a human being by a human
being, culpable homicide means such killing of a human being by a human being as is
criminal.The section which defines culpable homicide says that whoever causes death by doing
an act either 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 homicide.

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CULPABLE HOMICIDE
Section 299 of IPC defines Culpable Homicide as follows -

Section 299 - Who ever 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
Homicide.

Culpable homicide is the first kind of unlawful homicide. It is the causing of death by doing-

 An act with the intention of causing death


 An act with the intention of causing such bodily injuries as is likely to cause death
 An act with the knowledge that it was likely to cause death

Actus reus and Mens rea are the most important grounds to frame the charge of culpable
homicide. Without one or other of those elements , an act, though it may be in its nature criminal
and may occasion death,will not amount to the offence of culpable homicide. An ‘act’ according
to section 33 of the Code denotes as well as a series of acts as a single act and the word
‘omission’ denotes as well a series of omissions as a single omission. Section 32 of the Code
makes it specific that in every part of this Code, except where a contrary intention appears from
the context, words which refer to acts done extend also to illegal omissions. ‘Intent and
Knowledge’ as the ingredients of section 299 postulates the existence of a positive mental
attitude and this mental condition is the special mens rea necessary for the offence. The
knowledge of the third condition contemplates knowledge of the likelihood of the death of the
person.

There are three species of Mens rea in culpable homicide-

 An intention to cause death


 An intention to cause grieveous bodily injury
 Knowledge that death is likely to happen

Intention is the highest degree of Mens rea and any act done by the intention of causing death
means that the act has only one possible consequence that is death. A man expects the natural
consequences of his acts and therefore in law is presumed to intend them. Therefore ,if a person
in performing some act either –

 Expects death to be the consequence thereof


 Expects a dangerour injury (bodily injury likely to cause death)
 Has the knowledge that death is the likely consequence

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His intention in the first two cases and knowledge in the third render the homicide culpable. A
guilty intention or knowledge is thus essential to this offence, and if this does not exist the killing
cannot amount to culpable homicide. It must also be observed that death must be the likely the
result of the intended bodily injury. The fact that the death of the human being is caused is not
enough unless one of the mental states mentioned in the ingresdients is present, an act causing
death cannot amount to culpable homicide.

Case- Balwinder singh v/s state of punjab – in this case accused persons who were unarmed
came in front of the house of the deceased and exorted him to come out of the house to face him
as a consequence of not providing them with the passage to their land. Eventually they entered
the land and pelted brick bats to the deceased one of which hit to the chest and he died of cardiac
arrest. The injury inflicted was sufficient to cause death but possibility of death deceased being a
heart patient could not be ruled out. For the absence of intention to cause death or knowledge
that it might cause death, accused were held not guilty for murder as well culpable homicide.

Causing death by effect of words spoken by a person may amount to doing an act if there is
causal between the death and the words spoken, and as such the person may be liable for
culpable homicide if the requirements of section 299 are fulfilled. There can possibly be no
difference between causing death directly and doing the same circuitously. For instance Making
a loud notice and thereby waking a sick person intentionally thereby denying him the chance of
life which sound sleep may give him, or giving a bad news to a sick person suddenly knowing
about its consequences may make the person doing so liable for culpable homicide if
requirements of the section are met. Such cases may, however, be very rare.

Bodily injury- It is important to note here that the word used is not ‘injury’ but ‘bodily injury’.
The word ‘injury’ according to section 44 of the Code denotes any harm whatever illegally
caused to any person in body, mind, reputation or property. By using the expression ‘bodily
injury’ the authors of the Code have covered harm caused illegally to any person in body only,
and have eliminated harm caused in mind, reputation and property from the purview of this
section. As the ultimate consequence of the act done in culpable homicide is death of the person.
Death of the person can be caused by-

 General bodily injury- it does not target the particular body organ. For example,
pushing a person in front of a truck or pushing him from 5th floor of building.
 Specific bodily injury- in this injury the accused targets a specific body organ of the
person to cause injury.for example, shooting or hitting at the sensitive body organs
 Other means- this includes other means to kill a person by causing internal injuries such
as poisoning, drowning, strangulation or giving a doze of an empty injection which
creates a bubble in the vein and causes death of the person.

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The question as to how is the court to determine as to whether a bodily injury is likely to
cause death or not is naturally of immense importance. For this the court always keeps
three things, all at the same lime, in mind— the part of the body where the injury has
been caused, the nature of the injury and the nature of the weapon used.The human body
has been generally divided into two parts for this purpose— vital and non-vital. Vital
parts are those parts where the effect of an injury is more likely to result in serious
consequences more easily, like the brain, heart and abdomen etc. Non-vital parts are
those parts where generally an injury is not likely to cause very serious consequences
easily, like the legs, arms, thighs etc.The nature of the injury caused has to be judged
very carefully by the court. An injury may be simple or superficial or grievous etc. How
much deep it is and how much area does it cover are important considerations. The court
has to take a cumulative view of the injuries while judging the nature.The nature of the
weapon used is an equally important fact requiring utmost attention of the court. A
weapon may be lethal or non-lethal. A lethal weapon may be in the form of a gun, pistol,
revolver, sword, spear, gandasa, gupti, dagger, knife and the like. A non-lethal weapon
may be a lathi, stick, club, bamboo and other similar weapons.But as pointed out above,
it must always be borne in mind that part of the body and nature of injury and weapon
must be viewed together and not separately to judge as to whether an injury is likely to
cause death or not. For instance, a dagger blow on the stomach may be likely to cause
death but a dagger blow on the heart may almost result in death in a very large number of
cases and, therefore, sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death as
provided under clause (3) of section 300 of the Code dealing with murder.Whenever the
post mortem report reveals on the basis of the above considerations that there was a
reasonable probability of death to result the court would conclude that the bodily injury
was likely to cause death. This reasonable probability of death should not be very high
because in that case the third clause of section 300 would be applicable and the accused
would be liable for murder provided he intended to commit that injury which in fact he
did commit.Whether the bodily injury is likely to cause death or not is an objective
exercise for the court. A conviction on the basis of the second clause of section 299
would require that there was an intention on the part of the accused to cause bodily
injury, and that the bodily injury so caused was likely to cause death and death in fact did
result.

Intention- The intention is the question of facts which has to be gathered from the acts of the
parties. Laws regards the intention to the natural result of man’s act and not to the condition of
his mind. So, when a normal man does an act he should be credited with the intention of doing
that which is the inevitable consequence of his act. Furthur, the nature of intention has to be
gathered from various circumstances, for instance the kind of weapon used, body organ targetted
to cause injury or the part of the body hit, amount of force applied, repetitions of act and the
circumstances attending upon death. In the absence of any circumstances to show that the
particular injury inflicted by the accused was unintentional or that some other kind of injury was

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intended to be inflicted , the presumption will be that the very injury suffered by the deceased
was intended. For instance, one or two blows by a knife or a dagger will ordinarily not be enough
to infer such an intention as these may show only an intention to cause grievous hurt. On the
other hand, if there be evidence to the effect that after one or two such blows the deceased fell
down on the ground injured and there was no apprehension of his being able to attack the
accused but even then the accused gave him a few more blows as a cumulative result of which
the deceased died, the evidence is clear enough to prove intention to cause death as the accused
continued his attack on a person who had already fallen on the ground injured.However, one or
two blows also may sometimes allow the court to infer intention to cause death but only with the
help of some additional evidence. For example, if the accused had already made two attempts
previously on the life of the victim but was not successful in either, and then he made the third
attack and gave only two blows which proved fatal, the court is bound to infer that he had an
intention of causing death of the victim.

 Case- Kedar Parsad V/s State -It was held by the court that the first accused was liable
U/s 304 and the other U/s 324 for causing hurt by dangerous weapon & the third U/s 323
for causing simple hurt only.

 Case- Sarabjeet Singh V/s St ate - The accused did not have good relation with
complainant on account of sale transaction of piece of land. He went to the house and
assaulted the complainant and his wife. He also picked up the infant child of the
complainant and threw him down on the ground with force as a result of which the child
died some time later. The accused was held guilty under sec. 304 Part-II.

Motive

The word ‘motive’ has nowhere been used in the Code. But whenever one comes across a
case of culpable homicide or murder there is almost always a mention of the word ‘motive’ in the
courts as well as in the judicial pronouncements. The reason for the same is that even though
motive is not required to be proved as an essential element of a crime, it helps the court to gather
the intention of the accused. Motive is the ulterior intent.It prompts a person to form an intention,
and intention of the accused is an important consideration in criminal law. Additionally, section 8
of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 says that any fact is relevant which shows or constitutes a
motive or preparation for any fact in issue or relevant fact.The conduct of any party, or of any
agent to any party, to any suit or proceeding, in reference to such suit or proceeding, or in
reference to any fact in issue therein or relevant thereto, and the conduct of any person an
offence against whom is the subject of any proceeding, is relevant, if such conduct influences or
is influenced by any fact in issue or relevant fact, and whether it was previous or subsequent
thereto.held that the accused was entitled to the acquital.

Intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death- the practical difference
between the two phrase is expressed in the punishment mentioned in section 304. But the

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phrase ‘ with the knowledge that he is likely to cause death’ includes all cases of rash acts by
which death is caused, for rashness imports a knowledge of the consequence of the act which
the accused does in spite of the risk. The intention to cause bodily injury can easily be
inferred when a person gives a blow or blows on another person because when one attacks
another it can easily be concluded that he has an intention to cause at least bodily injury on
him.But almost invariably it can also be concluded by such act that he had knowledge that
the victim would suffer bodily injury by his act. In other words, infliction of a blow may lead
the court to infer intention to cause bodily injury as well as knowledge on the part of the
accused that bodily injury would result. In such circumstances where both, such intention and
knowledge are inferable, the court is expected to proceed according to the second clause, i.e.,
intention to cause bodily injury.The reason for the same is that knowledge clause is expected
to be applied only when neither intention to cause death nor intention to cause bodily injury
can be held to be applicable. The knowledge clause has an independent existence and there
may be ‘only knowledge’ situations.For instance, where there is no quarrel or fighting
between two persons but one suddenly takes out a knife from his pocket and gives one blow
by it on the other in the heat of the moment. In such a situation the court would conclude that
the facts and circumstances do not show any intention on the part of the attacker but he did
know that by his blow the victim would be injured.

 Case- desigamani v/s state of Madras- In this case the deceased died of head injury
caused by a stick. The circumstance spelt out that the accused had no intention to
cause death, but knowledge that in inflicting the injury he was likely to cause death
cannot be ruled out. Hence he was convicted under section 304 of I.P.C.

 Case-Alex Martin Fernandes v/s State of Maharashtra- the accused on the unjustified
belief that his wife was unchaste inflicted as many as 23 incised wounds by sharp
cutting weapon. After being stabbed repeatedly by her husband, the deceased asked
for water and the accused promptly gave it to her. Then the accused left for police
station and stated that he had murdered his wife. It was held his subsequent conduct
in bringing a glass of water to victim militates against his intention of causing death,
but certainly he had the knowledge that such bodily injuries are likely to cause death.
The accused was convicted u/s 304 of I.P.C

With the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death

According to the third (last) clause of section 299, causing death with the knowledge that
the accused is likely by such act to cause death makes him liable for culpable homicide.
As already stated under the second clause, intention to cause bodily injury and knowledge
of the consequences may both be inferable from the very same act, and in such cases the

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intention clause must be applied and not the knowledge clause because the knowledge
clause has been given an independent existence by the authors of the Code.For instance,
where an attacker attacks his victim he may be presumed to intend the natural
consequences of his act, i.e., causing bodily injury. In addition, he may also be presumed
to know that his attack would result into bodily injury to the victim. In such a situation,
the court must apply the second clause of this section and not the third clause.On the
other hand, where there is a sudden attack at the spur of the moment without any
premeditation, or an utterly unwarranted act which is basically dangerous like driving
without proper care in a crowded area and the like, the court must apply the third clause
of this section because no specific intention can be derived in such a case and the accused
may only be presumed to know the consequences of what he was doing. The offence of
culpable homicide supposes an intention or knowledge of likelihood of causing death. In
the absence of such intention or knowledge the offence commited may be grieveous hurt
or simple hurt.For example-
 The deceased under the influence of drink was hurling abuses on the accused who
asked him not to do so. When the deceased continued to do so, the accused came
out of his shop, gave blows on him and pushed him down as a result of which the
deceased fell down, hurt his head and died. It was held that the accused could not
be held to have knowledge that his act was likely to cause death and so he was
guilty of causing hurt only under section 323.
 Where the accused gave a knife blow in the abdomen of the deceased with a view
to free himself and run away so that the threat of dire consequences given to him
by the deceased could not materialise, it was held that he was guilty under section
304 Part II.
 It was held that the snake-charmer had committed culpable homicide under the
third clause of section 299 and was as such punishable under section 304 Part II.
Where the accused offered his child to a crocodile in a tank under the
superstitious belief that hewould be returned unharmed and then would lead a
long healthy life, and it was killed in the process, the court held him guilty under
section 304 Part II on the ground that he could be presumed to know that his act
was likely to cause death of the child.

In case of sudden loss of temper, there being no previous enmity between the two and
no premeditation on the part of the accused, he was guilty under section 304 Part II
as he could be presumed to know the consequences of strangulation. Doing an act on
a sudden impulse without exercising due care and caution could lead the court to
presume that the accused did have knowledge of the consequences of his act.

 Case- Kannan v/s state – accused while beating his wife wounded his child which
wound proved fatal. The accused had no intention to cause death neither of the

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mother nor of the child. It was held that the accused is to be convicted under
section 326 for grieveous hurt and not for culpable homicide or murder.

 Case- Meerapuri v/s state of Nagaland- In absence of intention or knowledge the


offence commited may also amount to one under section 304 of IPC. Accused
fired riffle with the knowledge that children and others were near about. One
bullet hit a child to death. The act of accused was rash and negligent and direct,
proximate and efficient cause of death. The accused was held not guilty of
culpable homicide but rash and negligent act culminating to death of a human
being.

 Case- Durga devi v/s State- the accused wife was charged to have commited the
murder of the deceased husband but no intention or motive was established. It was
held that accused was entitled to acquittal.

 Case- Laxman Kalu v. State- the accused went to his father-in-law’s home to bring
back his wife and they were scheduled to return by the next morning conveyance.
In the evening the accused quarrelled with his wife’s brother and stabbed him by a
knife once resulting in death. In the Sessions Court the wife of the accused said
that her husband had stabbed the victim, whereas the victim’s widow and three
others said that the victim was killed by his own elder brother who was
absconding. Supreme Court held that in view of the above, it was by chance that
the artery was cut, and so the accused did not have any intention, but he could be
presumed to know the consequences of his act, and was thus guilty under section
304 Part II.

 Case- Chuttan v. State of M.P., the eye-witness deposed that injuries were caused
by stick portion of the spear and other weapon and almost all injuries were on
non-vital parts. The victim was left unattended at the site itself for nearly twenty
hours. The Supreme Court held that it cannot be said that the intention of the
accused was to cause death or to cause such injuries which were sufficient to
cause death in the ordinary course of nature; but they could be attributed
knowledge that by causing such injuries they were likely to cause death, and thus
they were guilty under section 304 Part II of the Code

 Case- Takhaji Hiraji v. Thakore Kubersing Chamansing, there was a sudden


quarrel between two communities of a village in the village chowk. The accused
caused knife injuries in the abdomen of the deceased cutting the intestine. The
Supreme Court held that though intention to cause death or such bodily injury as
is likely to cause death cannot be attributed, knowledge is attributable that injury

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by knife in the abdomen was likely to cause death. Consequently, guilt under
section 304 Part II is proved.
 Case- Vishnu Mohan v. State (NCT of Delhi)} the accused allegedly strangulated
his mother. He was a drug addict and there were frequent quarrels between them
over his demand of money. The accused was alone in his mother’s room when she
was found strangulated. The deceased’s earrings and rings were recovered from
his pocket immediately after the incident. The Delhi High Court held that the
circumstances were sufficient to connect the accused with the homicidal death of
his mother.

 Case- Ruli Ram v. State of Haryana,- two young boys playing by the side of a
pond were thrown into it by the accused on account of alleged refusal by their
family members to vote in favour of a candidate of the accused. The intention of
the accused was found to be not to commit murders but to create some
disturbances at the polling station in order to divert attention of the crowd
collected there so that booth capturing would be facilitated. No injuries were
caused to the two deceased before they were thrown into the pond.There was no
attempt to strangulate them. The Supreme Court held that the accused could be
attributed knowledge that the act was likely to cause death and so they were guilty
under clause 3 of section 299 to be punished under section 304 Part II.

Explanation 1- Death of victim labouring under a disorder, disease or bodily infirmity

Causing bodily injury to a person labouring under a disorder, disease or bodily infirmity and
thereby accelerating his death has been deemed to be causing his death under the first
explanation. It is futile for the offender to contend that had the deceased not been labouring
under a disorder, disease or bodily infirmity he would not have died. Explanation 1 of section
299 of I.P.C. postulates that the death of the victim is caused by bodily injury inflicted or caused
by assailant and such bodily injury is being caused to one who has been labouring under a
disorder , disease or bodily infirmity and such bodily injury accelerated the death of the person.
Explanation 1 is subject to the prime condition that the deliquent must have intended to cause
such bodily injuryas is likely to cause death or the deliquent had while causing the injury had
knowledge that he was likely by such act to cause death. The injury inflicted by an accused may
cause or accelerate the death of the victim but unless this causing of the death by the accused is
accompanied by the requisite intention of causing such bodily injury as is likey to cause death or
accompanied by the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, the offence cannot
answer culpable homicide. The law does not make a difference between an offence affecting the
life of a person who is to die soon from a mortal disease or old age etc. and one of strong health,
because in either case it is accelerating the death, in the former by a few hours, months or years,
and in the latter by many years.This explanation pre-supposes that the act on the part of the
accused falls under at least one of the three clauses of section 299. If such is not the case and the
prosecution fails to establish on the part of the accused either intention to cause death, or

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intention to cause such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or knowledge that the bodily
injury is such as is likely to cause death, this explanation will not be applicable.Where a
concerted attack by a large number of persons on the deceased who was having a fatty heart
results in his death, and the case falls under either of the three clauses of this section, explanation
1 will render the accused liable for culpable homicide or murder.

Explanation 2- By resorting to proper remedies death might have been prevented

According to the second explanation, in cases of death being caused by bodily injury the person
causing 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. In other words, in
cases of death by bodily injury the person causing such injury is not allowed to say that if proper
remedies or skilful treatment would have been made available to the deceased, his death might
have been prevented.The reason for this explanation is obvious. It is not always possible that
proper remedies and skilful treatment are within the reach of a wounded person and allowing any
exception in the matter could lead to disastrous consequences. It cannot be said that better
medical facilities were not available at the local medical dispensary; and this fact will in no case
change the nature of the offence.There must always be a proximate and causal connection
between the bodily injury caused and the death. The death must be the natural and probable
result of the injury. The requirements of section 299 must, however, be established always before
this explanation can be applied. Refusal of the deceased to submit to medical treatment would be
of no help to the accused and he would still be liable if the requirements of this section are
fulfilled and this explanation is applied.Where, for instance, a simple bodily injury leads to septic
meningitis because of negligent treatment the accused is not liable for death because of the
absence of causal relationship between the death and the bodily injury. But where an injury
results into gangrene and consequent death, or where as a result of the injuries caused by the
accused pneumonia supervened resulting into death, the accused would be guilty of death
because the causal connection between the death and the injury caused is intact.

 Case - Sellappan v. State of Tamil Nadu, the accused beat the deceased with stick who
died in hospital. The Supreme Court held that the plea of the accused that with proper
treatment life of the deceased could have been saved is not tenable in view of
explanation 2 to section 299. The accused was convicted under section 304, Part II and
not under section 302 of the Code.

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Explanation 3- causing death of a child in mother’s womb

This explanation does not treat death of a child in the mother’s womb a homicide but if any part
of a living child is brought forth causing its death may amount to culpable homicide even though
the child may not have breathed or it may not have been completely born.In other words, killing
of a pregnant woman is only one homicide and not homicides because as long as a child is in the
mother’s womb it has no independent existence of its own. But if any part of a child has come
out of its mother’s womb and the child is a living child, causing its death may amount to culpable
homicide if requirements mentioned in any of the clauses of section 299 are fulfilled. For this it
is not necessary that the child must have breathed or it may have been completely born. It is
important to note, however, that an act done with intent to prevent a child from being born alive
or to cause it to die after its birth is a punishable offence under section 315 of the Code.

 Case – Mussamat buddho v/s Crinn- It was observed that if it is not homicide to kill a
childin its mother’s womb, it can hardly be urged that it is homicide to kill a child that
had breathed in the womb and died while yet in the womb and has been brought forth
still-born

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