Legal Guide

Section 304 IPC in a Nutshell

by Mansi Gehrana · 3 min read

Section 304 IPC


  • The punishments to be given in circumstances when the human body is harmed or an individual’s life is lost covered in Chapter XVI of the IPC. 
  • The penalties for one of these offenses, culpable homicide that does not amount to murder, are laid out in Section 304 of the IPC.
  • The following paragraphs aim to provide an extensive overview of Section 304 of the IPC as this applies to the criminal industry. 

What is culpable homicide?

Section 299 of Chapter XVI of the IPC, which is the first section, defines the phrase “culpable homicide.” When someone willfully kills someone else or commits an act knowing it would likely result in death, they have committed culpable homicide. A person commits culpable homicide, according to Section 299 of the IPC, when:

That person willfully commits a crime that results in the death of another person. Any “bodily hurt” that ends in another person’s death is brought on by that person. That person either acts with the purpose of killing someone or with the awareness that their actions might kill someone without intending to.

What is Murder?

Section 300 of the IPC contains a definition of murder. It is the most serious offense ever committed. According to Section 300, murder is a sort of culpable homicide in which a person knowingly causes death or physical damage with the purpose of doing so. There is a difference between Murder & Attempt to Murder.

What are the types of culpable homicide under Section 304 IPC?

According to the severity of the offense,  Section 304 IPC separates culpable homicide into three categories to establish the appropriate amount of punishment. 

The first degree of culpable homicide is covered by Sections 300 and 302, whereas the other two degrees are covered by Sections 304 (Part I) and (Part II) of the IPC, respectively:

  • Murder is the most severe and serious type of culpable homicide, according to Section 300. This is also known as “first-degree culpable homicide.”
  • The second is referred to as “culpable second-degree homicide.” This constitutes a responsible homicide that is murder. When compared to the first degree, this is less serious. It is prohibited by Section 304 IPC, Part I.
  • Third-degree culpable homicide is the least serious sort of culpable homicide. This constitutes a culpable homicide but not a murder. The least severe of the three degrees of punishment is meted out here. Under Section 304 (Part II) of the IPC, it is illegal.

What are the elements of Section 304 IPC?

As previously established, Section 304 IPC outlines the penalties for “culpable homicide not amounting to murder.”

Additionally, the following situations involved the use of Section 304 IPC. The following are discussed with pertinent legal precedents:

  • At the last minute- Literally, it refers to a spontaneous action that is carried out without prior thought or preparation.
  • Self-Defense- It is determined that the accused was the aggressor under Section 304 if they only suffer minor injuries while the deceased suffer severe ones (Part I).
  • Unexpected fight during the altercation – Change of Section 304 (I) to Section 300 (II)- It should fall under Section 300 (II) and not Section 304 if someone makes a sudden sight during a minor altercation and it results in death or any bodily injury causing death (Part I)
  • Reckless behavior that is both aware of and likely to have severe repercussions- When someone commits a “despicable aggravated offense,” they are subject to punishment under Section 304 (Part II) of the IPC rather than Section 304A of the IPC, which deals with negligence-related deaths.
  • In-custody death– If a police officer abuses or tortures a detainee while the detainee is in custody and the detainee dies as a result, the conviction should be upheld in accordance with Section 304 IPC (Part II).

What are the Types of Punishment under Section 304 IPC?

As previously established, Section 304 IPC outlines the penalties for “culpable homicide not amounting to murder.”

Section 304 IPC (Part I) and Section 304 IPC (Part II) can be divided into two independent sections (Part II). Depending on the seriousness of the crimes committed, several punishment levels are applied.

  • Section 304 IPC, Part I

A person who commits a crime that qualifies as “culpable homicide not amounting to murder” faces a sentence of life in prison or a term of up to ten years in jail, as well as a fine. The offense must be performed with both knowledge and good intentions.

  • Section 304 IPC, Part II

According to the law, anyone found guilty of an act that results in death, an act that is undertaken with the intent to cause death, or a physical injury that “is likely to result in death” faces a sentence of up to ten years in jail, a fine, or both. 

Additionally, it must be proven that the act was carried out knowing it would likely result in death but with no desire to do so or any bodily harm that would result in doing so.

It should be noted that Section 304 IPC places a strong emphasis on knowledge and intention when determining the severity of the punishment. Section 304 IPC (Part I) imposes a punishment of life in prison or ten years in jail plus a fine for acts done with both the purpose and knowledge. 

Contrarily, under Section 304 IPC (Part II), a person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of ten years or a fine or with both ten years imprisonment and a fine if it is committed with knowledge but without purpose.

Always seek Legal Consultation in case of any offense related to Section 304 IPC. 


Determining whether an act qualifies as “murder” or “culpable homicide” is crucial to determining the appropriate legal classification. If the crime is later found to fall under the category of culpable homicide, it becomes necessary to assess whether it qualifies as murder or not, as well as if knowledge and intention—or both—were present.

Although it is simple to discern them in theory, it is more difficult to identify and differentiate them in actual situations. To ensure fairness, the keywords should be appropriately targeted on the essential areas.

To know more about the offense of Section 304 IPC, consult a Lawyer.

Mansi Gehrana

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Mansi Gehrana

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