top of page

Murder under BNS (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita): Notes

Updated: Jun 2


Introduction:


The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (BNS) lays down a detailed framework governing various offenses, including culpable homicide and murder. Section 101 of the BNS defines murder, while Section 103 of BNS outlines the punishments associated with the offence of murder. In this article, we will comprehensively study about the offence of murder under the BNS, studying its provisions, exceptions, and the corresponding penalties.


Watch JudiX’s 1 minute video lecture on offence of death/ grievous hurt by mob lynching

Provisions of Murder under Section 101 of BNS:


Section 101 of the BNS categorizes culpable homicide as murder, outlining specific scenarios where an act resulting in death becomes classified as murder. These scenarios include:


(a) Intention to Cause Death:


Murder is established if the act leading to death is done with the clear intention of causing the demise of another individual. This implies a deliberate, premeditated decision to end someone's life.


(b) Intention to Cause Fatal Bodily Injury:


Murder is recognized if the act leading to death is done with the intention of causing bodily injury that the offender knows to be likely to result in the death of the person harmed.


(c) Bodily Injury Sufficient to Cause Death:


The section acknowledges murder when the act causing death is done with the intention of inflicting bodily injury, and the nature of the injury intended is sufficient, in the ordinary course of nature, to cause death.


(d) Imminent Danger with Knowledge:


Murder is attributed when the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to result in death. The act is committed without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or severe injury.


Exceptions to Murder under Section 101 of BNS:


Exception 1 - Grave and Sudden Provocation:


Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, deprived of self-control due to grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation or causes the death of any other person by mistake or accident.


This exception comes with specific conditions. The provocation should not be sought or voluntarily provoked by the offender, and it should not be given in obedience to the law or by a public servant in the lawful exercise of powers.


The exception also applies to provocation given in the lawful exercise of the right of private defense. The determination of whether the provocation was grave and sudden enough to prevent the offense from amounting to murder is considered a question of fact.


Exception 2 - Right of Private Defense:


Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, in the exercise in good faith of the right of private defense of person or property, exceeds the power given to him by law. The death must be caused without premeditation and without any intention of doing more harm than is necessary for the purpose of defense.


Exception 3 - Public Servant Acting in Good Faith:


Culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, being a public servant or aiding a public servant acting for the advancement of public justice, exceeds the powers given to him by law. The act must be done in good faith, with a genuine belief that it is lawful and necessary for the due discharge of duty as a public servant, and without ill-will towards the person whose death is caused.


Exception 4 - Sudden Fight Without Premeditation:


Culpable homicide is not murder if committed without premeditation in a sudden fight, in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel, and without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner. It is emphasized that it is immaterial in such cases which party offers the provocation or commits the first assault.


Exception 5 - Consent of Person Above 18 Years:


Culpable homicide is not murder when the person whose death is caused, being above the age of eighteen years, suffers death or takes the risk of death with his own consent.


Section 103 of BNS- Punishment for Murder:


Having studied the provisions and exceptions under Section 101, it is important to understand the corresponding punishments for murder as outlined in Section 103 of the BNS.


(1) Punishment for Murder:


Whoever commits murder shall be punished with either death or imprisonment for life, in addition to being liable to pay a fine.


(2) Group Offense on Specific Grounds:


Section 103(2) addresses instances where a group of five or more persons, acting in concert, commits murder based on specific grounds such as race, caste, community, sex, place of birth, language, personal belief, or any other ground.


In such cases, each member of the group shall be punished with either death or life imprisonment. Members of the group are also liable to pay a fine.


Section 103(2) of BNS can be seen as an attempt of the legislature to tackle the issue of mob lynching.


Landmark Judgments:


"K.M. Nanavati vs. the State of Maharashtra" (1961), is a landmark in the context of provocation. The Supreme Court emphasized the importance of considering whether a reasonable person in the accused's circumstances would be provoked to lose self-control. This case established the criteria for evaluating the impact of sudden and grave provocation, providing valuable insights into the complex interplay of emotions and actions leading to a homicide.


"Rawalpenta Venkalu vs State of Hyderabad" (1956) stands out as a case where the accused deliberately set fire to a room, leading to the death of the victim. The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the sessions court, recognizing the clear intention of the accused to cause death.


Another crucial case is "State of Karnataka v. Shariff" (2003), wherein a child witness's statement regarding his mother's death was deemed reliable. The court highlighted the importance of considering the circumstances surrounding the incident and the reliability of witness statements in establishing the accused's liability for murder.


"Selvaraj vs State of Tamil Nadu" (1998) further reinforced the importance of considering the accused's intention in murder cases. The accused's clear intention to kill the victim, demonstrated through a stabbing resulting in severe injuries, led to a murder conviction.


Cognizability and Bailability:


Murder is a cognizable offense, enabling the police to make arrests without warrant.


Murder is also a non-bailable offense and hence, in cases of murder, bail is not granted as a matter of right.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Murder under Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


1. How does Section 101 of the BNS define murder?


- Section 101 categorizes culpable homicide as murder, outlining scenarios where an act resulting in death becomes classified as murder. These include intentional acts to cause death, bodily injury leading to death, and acts in imminent danger with knowledge.


2. What are the exceptions to murder under Section 101 of the BNS?


- Exceptions to murder under Section 101 include grave and sudden provocation, the right of private defense, public servants acting in good faith, sudden fights without premeditation, and cases where the person above 18 years consents to or takes the risk of death.


3. How is murder punished under Section 103 of the BNS?


- Section 103 prescribes severe punishments for murder, including death or imprisonment for life, in addition to a fine. If a group commits murder based on specific grounds, each member may face similar penalties.


4. Is murder a cognizable offense?


- Yes, murder is a cognizable offense, granting police the authority to make arrests without prior court authorization due to the seriousness of the offense.


5. Is murder a bailable offense?


- No, murder is a non-bailable offense, reflecting the gravity of the offense, and bail is not granted as a matter of right in murder cases.


6. How does the BNS address cases involving sudden fights and provocation?


- The BNS recognizes exceptions for sudden fights without premeditation and cases where the offender is deprived of self-control due to grave and sudden provocation.


Murder under BNS (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita): Notes






Recent Posts

See All

Σχόλια


bottom of page