Exceptions To The Offence Of Murder

Exceptions To The Offence Of Murder Under Section 300 Of IPC

Criminal Law Indian Penal Code LAW EXPLAINED
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Murder is one of the crucial crimes in society. The word ‘murder’ arises from the German term morth which means secret killing. It is the illegal killing of another person without a valid explanation, especially the illegitimate killing of another person with malice aforethought. In India, the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with murder.

Murder under Indian Penal Code, 1860:-

Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 deal with the cases of culpable homicide that can be named murder. The cases are- 

Clause (1) of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 stated an act by which death results with the intent of causing death.

Clause(2) of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 stated an act that is done with the intent of causing bodily harm as the wrongdoer knows to be likely to result in the death of the individual to whom the injury is caused.

Clause (3) of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 stated an act that is done with the intent of causing bodily harm to someone and the bodily injury planned to be committed is adequate to result in death in the common course of nature. 

Clause (4) of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 stated a wrongdoer knows that actions done by him cause death, bodily harm that caused the death and yet commits such act without any excuse for causing death or such harm as aforesaid.


The exceptions to the offence of murder under Section 300 Of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 are given below –

  • Grave and sudden Provocation;
  • Private Defense;
  • Exercise of Legal power;
  • Without premeditation in a sudden fight;
  • Consent.[1]

Exception 1. Grave and sudden Provocation:

Culpable homicide is not named murder if a person loses his self-control by grave and sudden provocation and because of that situation he causes the death of someone who gave the provocation or induces the death of someone by mistakenly or accidentally. 

This exception has some conditions. The conditions are stated below-

I)The sudden provocation is not sought or willingly incited by the wrongdoer as an explanation for assassinating or committing injury to someone.

II) The sudden provocative is not conveyed by anything done in compliance with the law, or by a public servant in the legitimate exercise of the powers of a public servant.

III) The sudden provocative is not conveyed by anything done in the legal exercise of the right of private defense.

Illustrations: I) A gives a grave and sudden provocative to B. B on the provocation, fires a gun at C, neither planning nor realizing himself to be likely to kill D, who is near him, out of the sight B murders D. So, B has not executed murder, but barely culpable homicide.

II) D is legally arrested by S, a bailiff. D is excited to sudden violent passion by the arrest and murder S. This is a murder, in as much as the provocation was given by a thing done by a public servant in the exercise of his power delivered by the government. 

Case law- In the case of Smt. Suljina Dhan V. the State of Assam (2018), the Gauhati High Court stated that the result was the consequence of the fight between husband and wife and such fight bestowed a sudden and grave provocation to the wife and kill her husband. So, she should be fall under the exception. Therefore, the wife was responsible for the culpable homicide not amounting to murder.[2]

Exception 2. Private Defense:

Culpable homicide is not declared as murder if the wrongdoer in exercise in the good faith of the right of private defense of a person or a property surpasses the power bestowed to him by the law causes the death of the person against whom he is exercising the right of defense without or premeditation, and without any intent to committing more injury than is essential for private defense. 

Illustration: A attempts to beat B, in a manner as not to cause grievous harm to B. B draws out a gun. A remain in the assault. B in the good faith believing that he can no other means prevent himself from being beaten kills A.  B is accountable for the culpable homicide not amounting to murder of A.

Case law: In the case of Ranbir Singh & Ors V. State of Haryana (2018), the apex court stated that the responsibility of proving self-defense is on the accused. Such burden can be lessened by establishing a mere prevalence of probabilities either by laying the basis for that petition in the cross-examination of the prosecution witness or by adducing the defense evidence.[3]

Culpable homicide is not declared as murder if the offender is a public servant or aiding a public servant working for the development of public justice, surpasses the power provided to him by the law and causes death by committing an act in good faith believes to be lawful and essential for the due discharge of his duty as a public servant and without ill will towards the person whose death is induced.

Illustration: X is a police officer and Y is a criminal. X went to arrest Y. Y was trying to escape from X. X shoots Y. X is not accountable for murder Y.

Case Law: In the case of Dukhi Singh vs State (AIR 1955 All 379), The appellant Dukhi Singh is a constable of the Railway Protection Force ( RFF) while discharging his duty shoots a fireman without any intention. In this case, the Allahabad High Court laid down that the appellant is permitted to the advantage of Section 300 of the India Penal Code, 1860.[4]

Exception 4. Without premeditation in a sudden fight:

Culpable homicide is not declared as murdered if it is committed without premeditation in a sudden fight in the excitement of passion upon a sudden dispute and both were the parties had no intention to kill or cause the death of any person. Also, it does not matter which party has first committed an attack or who has given a provocation.

Essentials ingredients of Exception 4 are given below:

The fight must be between the accused and the person who is murdered.

The people encompassed in a sudden fight.

In the excitement of passion of a sudden quarrel.

The offender does not take any undue benefit.

The offender does not act cruelly or differently.[5]

Case law: In the case of Amirthalinga Nadar V. State of Tamil Nadu (1976) 2 SCC 195, the apex court held that in the case of a sudden fight, where the disastrous blow was given as a part of the sudden fight that provokes out of a sudden quarrel between the appellants and deceased, there is no scope for premeditation. The appellant does not take unfair advantage and acted cruelly and unusually.[6]

Culpable homicide is not murder when the person whose death is caused, is eighteen more than eighteen years old suffers from death or accepts the risk of death with his consent without any coercion. 

Illustration: C is 15 years old boy who committed suicide by the provocation of D. As C is a minor and unable to give his consent to his death. D is liable for the death of C. D has abetted the murder.


The exceptions of Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 protects the accused, if he has committed any act under the grave and sudden provocation, private defense, sudden fight, consent then the accused person can take the help of these exceptions. 

By Shreeparna Goswami

3rd year of Shyambazar Law College.

[1] Exceptions to offence of Murder under section 300 IPC,  https://www.legalbites.in/law-notes-ipc-exceptions-to-offence-of-murder/#:~:text=The%20exceptions%20are%3A,in%20a%20sudden%20fight%3B%20and.

[2] Smt. Suljina Dhan v. The State Of Assam | Gauhati High Court | Judgment | Law | CaseMine,  https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5b56eddb4a932624edca90bf?utm_source=amp&target=amp_similar.

[3] Exceptions to Section 300 of I.P.C – iPleaders,  https://blog.ipleaders.in/exceptions-to-section-300-of-i-p-c/.

[4] Dakhi Singh v State on 03 February 1955 – Judgement – LawyerServices, https://www.lawyerservices.in/Dakhi-Singh-Versus-State-1955-02-03.

[5] Exceptions To The Offence Of Murder Under Section 300 Of IPC, https://lawcorner.in/exceptions-to-offence-of-murder-under-section-300-of-indian-penal-code/.

[6] Amrithalinga Nadar v State of Tamil Nadu on 10 October 1975 – Judgement – LawyerServices, https://www.lawyerservices.in/Amrithalinga-Nadar-Versus-State-of-Tamil-Nadu-1975-10-10.

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