The question has engaged attention since the enactment of IPC. The use of the term ‘likely’ in several places in respect of ‘culpable homicide’, highlights the element of uncertainty. Section 300, which defines ‘murder’, however refrains from use of the term ‘likely’. This reveals absence of ambiguity left. The accused is for sure, his act will definitely cause death. It is often difficult to distinguish between ‘culpable homicide’ and ‘murder’ as both involve death. Yet, there is a subtle distinction of intention and knowledge involved in both the crimes. This difference lies in the degree of the act. There is a very wide variance of degree of intention and knowledge among both the crimes. State of Andhra Pradesh v. Rayavarapu Punnayya, (1976) 4 SCC 382 notes the important distinction between the provisions, and their differing, but subtle distinction.
Also see, Pulicherla Nagaraju v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2006) 11 SCC 444.
– Hon’ble Justice S. Ravindra Bhat, Mohd. Rafiq v. State of Madhya Pradesh, [Criminal Appeal No. 856 of 2021].
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