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Deeming Provision (Sec 299)

There has always been a confusion regarding the provisions of section 299 and
section 300 of the Indian Penal Code. No wonder James Stephens calls the part
dealing with the definitions of murder and culpable homicide as the weakest
part of the code.1
On a close analysis of the provisions of Section 299 of the IPC, one will find an
explanation which has been given to the definition as:
Explanation 1- A person who causes bodily injury to another who is labouring
under a disorder, disease or bodily infirmity, and thereby accelerates the death
of that other, shall be deemed to have caused his death.
By virtue of this deeming provision present over here one can presume from the
nature of it that one had indeed committed an act.
Now considering the logical fact if an explanation is given to a particular
provision, it would mean that that particular explanation corresponds to that
particular provision and not otherwise.
Having said that, when we look at the definition of Culpable Homicide as given
in sec 299, we see that it incorporates three ingredients on the basis of which
one can be booked under the section, which are:1. Intention of causing death
1 Essays On the Indian Penal Code, ILI 2005

2. Bodily injury as likely to cause death

3. Knowledge.
Now the general notion is that whenever one of these particular ingredients is
present in a particular case it is sufficient to show that culpable homicide has
taken place. But when we look at the Explanation 1 which has been given after
the definition it produces a little confusion.
In a case where the accused gave a blow with a light bamboo stick, not more
than an inch in diameter, to the deceased who was suffering from diseased
spleen on the region of that organ, it was held that he was guilty of causing
grievous hurt2. Page 498.
The accused sat on the chest of the deceased and began to strangle him and
would not desist despite entreaties of relations. Suddenly the deceased dies
owing to internal bleeding due to rupture of the spleen which was considerably
enlarged. The other injuries were not sufficient to cause death if the spleen had
not been ruptured. The fact of the enlarged spleen was not known to the
accused. It was held that the accused was guilty of culpable homicide under the
second part of s. 304 and not under s.325 of grievous hurt.3

2 Megha Meeah (1865) 2 WR (Cr) 39.

3 Munni Lal, (1943) All 853.

As regards the explanation 1 ratanal has reproduced it in ver batim and has
But one of the elements of the offence of Culpable homicide must be present.4
When we look at examples of enlarged spleen or liver, the rupture of which,
though it may be due to violence, is the immediate cause of death. In such cases
the accused could not have not be said to possess knowledge of the likelihood of
death if he did not know of the diseased condition of those organs. The offence
in such cases is not culpable homicide because there was not in the accused the
knowledge of the likelihood of death as a consequence of his act and the degree
of violence used is, therefore, the measure of his knowledge.

Causing bodily injury to another who is labouring under a disorder, disease or

bodily infirmity and thereby accelerating the death of that other is tantamount to
causing his death. However, one of the elements of Section 299 must be present.

4 Ratanlal and Dhirajlal The Indian Penal Code, 34 th edition pg 500 lexis nexis