ATTEMPT TO MURDER (SECTION 307 IPC)

(BY- HARSHITA SETIA)

The two important elements of the equation of a crime are mens rea and actus reus, the act and the guilty mind of the person committing such an act. It is important on the part of the prosecution to prove that this equation has been duly satisfied and the accused person is guilty of committing a crime under IPC. The offence of murder is hence no exception to this. Murder is considered as one of the most serious and heinous crimes one could commit. the essentials of murder under section 300 of IPC are:

  1. An act committed with an intention to cause death,
  2. An act committed with an intention to cause a bodily injury which the offender knows to likely cause death.
  3. An act done with the intention of causing a bodily injury which inflicts to be the cause of death.
  4. Commission of an act so dangerous that in all probability death would be the ultimate result of such an act.

The prosecution would have to prove that any of the conditions mentioned above is present in the instant case and the offence of murder has taken place. A person committing murder is liable to be imprisoned for life or be sentenced to death depending upon the gravity of the offence, however, it might be the case that death was intended yet not caused, this is attempt to murder. In order to ascertain whether an act could be an offence under section 307, attempt to murder, we have to look upon these essentials, alongside a condition that death has not been caused by the accused. The act must have been caused with an intention or knowledge that such act could in all probability result in the death of such other person but death is not the ultimate result. The person committing such an act has made an attempt to murder and shall be liable to be imprisoned for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine under the aforesaid provision. the offence mentioned hereunder is cognizable, non- bailable and non- compoundable. If the offender along with an attempt to murder causes hurt to the victim, he shall be liable either to imprisonment for life or hereinbefore mentioned punishment. If the offender under this section is a life convict, he may be sentenced to death if hurt is caused.

The factor that needs to be ascertained is whether the attempt to kill another person was actually present and if it was at what point did it begin. The factor mentioned here is a question of fact and not of law, as held in Vasant Virthu Jadhav v State of [1], the question of intention to kill or knowledge of death as mentioned herein the provision is a question of law and not of fact.

For example, A brings out his gun and decides to sit on the path that B uses everyday to reach his home, A here has a clear intention to kill B, the act of his sitting on the way with a gun is not an attempt to murder, the moment B passes from there and A point the gun at him and shoots him with an intention to kill him and knowledge that he would cause B’s death as a result. At that moment, A has made an attempt to kill B, however, B does not die, indicating that the essentials of this provision are complied with making A, an offender under section 307 of IPC.

There might be an instant development of an intention, for example, two people are arguing and under the influence of rage developed in the heat of argument, one of them used a knife and stabbed the other person in the abdomen, somehow the person was saved on time, the injury so caused was dangerous and could have caused the death of the person, moreover the accused in this case was well aware of the fact that death could be the possibility of his actions. He could be charged under the provisions of attempt to murder.

When it comes to intention, it is necessary that the prosecution proves that there was a clear intention that could be depicted and not just an injury which is inflicted on the body of the victim, observed in the case of Ansa Rudin v State of Maharashtra[2]. Owing to the fact that there is no actus reus similar to the case of murder upon which the prosecution could rely upon and the injury so caused can be caused without an intention to cause death of the victim it becomes important that an intention to kill the person is proved. One more factor in addition to the mentioned reason is that there is a possibility that the injury so caused is not a serious injury, in that case proving that there was an intention is the requisite that could divert the case to a case of attempt to murder. As observed in Sarju prasad v State of Bihar[3] mere fact that the injury inflicted did not cut any vital organ does not remove the case from the ambit of section 307, the prosecution needs to prove that the intention of the accused was of any of the 3 kinds mentioned in section 300 of IPC.

To conclude this, we can say that the intention or knowledge alongside the act committed towards it are the two conditions that are to be proved in the court, the purview of an offence of attempt to murder could not be restricted to the injury caused or to the mere intention, both must align and death should not the result of the action. Death caused with an intention or knowledge constitutes a graver offence, Murder. Hence, we have established the important requisites of an offence of attempt to murder under section 307 of the Indian Penal Code and how it is different from Murder.


[1] (1997) 2 crimes 539 (Bom)

[2] (1997) 2 crimes 157 (MP)

[3] AIR 1965 SC 843

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