Difference between Excusable Homicide and Justifiable Homicide
Excusable homicide includes the following cases: —
(1) Where the death is caused by accident or misfortune, and without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful act, in a lawful manner, by lawful means and with proper care and caution (Section 80). A is at work with a hatchet; the head flies off and kills a man who is standing by. Here, if there is no want of proper caution on the part of A, homicide is excusable.
(2) Where the death is caused by a child, or an insane or intoxicated person coming under Sections 82 to 85. A child under the age of seven years is absolutely immune while a child between seven and twelve years may be granted immunity only if he has not attained a sufficient maturity of understanding so as to know the nature of his act.
(3) Where the death is caused unintentionally by an act done in good faith for the benefit of the person killed when (i) he or, if a minor or lunatic, his guardian has expressly or impliedly consented to such an act. (Sections 87, 88) e.g., A a surgeon knowing that a particular operation is likely to cause death of Z, who suffers under a painful complaint, but not intending to cause Z’s death and intending in good faith Z’s benefit performs that operation on Z with Z’s consent or the consent of Z’s guardian if Z is a minor or a lunatic, and Z dies in consequence of such operation or where A and Z agree to fence with each other for amusement and in the course of such fencing Z is hurt and killed without foul play, the death of Z is excusable as the agreement implied the consent to suffer incidental harm, or (ii) where it is impossible for the person killing to signify his consent, or where he is incapable for giving his consent, and has no guardian from whom it is possible to obtain consent in time for the thing to be done with benefit (Section 92), e.g.,Z is carried off by a tiger and A fires at the tiger to rescue Z but the ball hits Z giving him a mortal wound or A is in a house, on fire, with Z a child; people below hold out a blanket. A drops the child knowing it to be likely that the fall may kill child but not intending to kill the child, intending in good faith the child’s benefit. There is no time to obtain consent of Z and Z dies in consequence of being dropped down by A; such homicide is excusable.
Justifiable homicide includes the following cases:
(1) Where the death is caused by a person, who is bound, or by mistake of fact, in good faith, believes himself, bound by law (Section 76), e.g. a soldier fires on a mob by the orders of his superior officer in conformity with the command of law.
(2) Where death is caused by a Judge when acting judicially in the exercise of any power which is, or, which in good faith he believes to be given to him by law (Section 77).
(3) Where the death is caused by a person acting in pursuance of the judgment or order of a court of justice (Section 78).
(4) Where the death is caused by a person who is justified or who by mistake of fact in good faith, believes himself to be justified by law (Section 79).
(5) Where death is caused by a person acting without any criminal intention to cause harm, and in good faith, for the purpose of preventing or avoiding other harm to person or property (Section 81).
(6) Where death is caused in exercising the right of private defence of person or property (Sections 100, 103).
Homicide in short is not punishable when it comes under an)’ of the exceptions contained in Chapter V of this Code.