Opinion

Is grave and sudden provocation an exception to murder?

If a person commits murder he shall be punished with death or life imprisonment along with fine mentioned under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code. But if his act falls under exception of murder then his punishment shall be reduced and punished under Section 304 of Indian Penal Code.

But can a person wear the cloak of immunity against criminal liability? Yes, if the act of a person falls under  Chapter IV of Indian Penal Code i.e. general exception then a person would be acquitted. But what happens if the act was done by grave and sudden provocation and falling under the purview of murder. Is he going to be punished for murder under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code or it is reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder and punishable under Section 304 of Indian Penal Code. 

Grave and Sudden provocation will be taken into consideration if it’s essential requisite is fulfilled. 

Essentials

    • The deceased (dead person) gave provocation to the accused.
  • Provocation must be grave and sudden. 
  • The accused was put into the situation by the said provocation where he lost his power of self control
  • The accused didn’t get the time to plan, he killed the deceased at the time when he lost his power of self control. 
  • The accused killed the person who gave him provocation or caused death of other person by mistake or accident

When exception is not available – 

  • If the accused (offender) gives provocation to the deceased and take this as an excuse or initially assaults another
  • If the act is done by the public servant without exceeding its jurisdiction. For instance – We remember when police officers went to arrest Vikas Dubey, he and his agents killed them. So, if he would be alive, he won’t be able to take the plea that his act was culpable homicide not amounting to murder due to grave and sudden provocation. The reason behind it is police officers as a public servant acted in exercise of their legal rights. 
  • The act of the accused was in the exercise of the right of private defence. Right of private defence is covered under General exception for which no punishment is allotted. So the accused will be acquitted.  
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