Supreme Court elucidate the Difference between Attempt to Commit Culpable Homicide Not Amounting To Murder (Sec.308 IPC) and Voluntary Causing Hurt by Dangerous Weapons (Sec.308 IPC)

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To secure a conviction under Section 308 of IPC, the prosecution must prove that the accused had requisite `intention’ or `knowledge’ to cause culpable homicide, which in turn can be ascertained from the actual injury as well as from other surrounding circumstances.

In contrast to Section 308 IPC, which necessarily requires proving `intention’ or `knowledge’, to attract Section 324 IPC it is sufficient if a person voluntarily causes hurt by means of an instrument for stabbing or cutting.

The distinction between an attempt to commit culpable homicide not amounting to murder, and voluntarily causing hurt with a sharp-edged weapon, is subtle and nuanced. Under the former (Section 308), injuries must be such as are likely to cause death, but in the latter (Section 324) the injuries may or may not endanger one’s life.

In Bishan Singh & Anr. vs. State (2007) 13 SCC 65, it was observed that “before an accused can be held to be guilty under Section 308 IPC, it was necessary to arrive at a finding that the ingredients thereof, namely, requisite intention or knowledge was existing. There cannot be any doubt whatsoever that such an intention or knowledge on the part of the accused to cause culpable homicide is required to be proved.”


Supreme Court held in Sunil Kumar Vs. State that”Offence punishable under Section 308 IPC postulates doing of an act with such intention or knowledge and under such circumstances that if one by that act caused death, he would be guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. An attempt of that nature may actually result in hurt or may not. It is the attempt to commit culpable homicide which is punishable under Section 308 IPC whereas punishment for simple hurts can be meted out under Sections 323 and 324 and for grievous hurts under Sections 325 and 326 IPC. Qualitatively, these offences are different. “

Case no.: CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 2204 OF 2010
Coram: Justices NV Ramana Hrishikesh Roy and Surya Kant

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