Section 307- Attempt to Murder

Section 307 IPC deals with the offence of committing an attempt to murder. Sec 307 IPC as defined under the code states as, “Whoever does any act with such intention or knowledge, and under any circumstances that, if he by that act caused death, would be guilty of murder, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; and if hurt is caused to any person by such act, the offender shall be liable either to imprisonment for life, or to such punishment as is hereinbefore mentioned.

Attempts by life convicts- When any person offending under this section is under sentence of imprisonment for life, he may, if hurt is caused, be punished with death.

Say for an example- If person A shoots person Z with the intention to kill him, under such circumstances that, may result in the death of person Z, A is liable to punishment under section 307 Indian Penal Code.

In India, the Indian Penal Code has made extensive provisions at different places for an attempt to commit various offences punishable according to the nature and gravity of the offence for which the attempt is made.

Sec. 307 IPC  as well as the section 308 deals with the offences of attempt to murder and attempt to commit culpable homicide not amounting to murder. In these cases, the act committed is such that may cause the death of the person. As per section 307 IPC, attempt to commit murder is a punishable offence, punishment for which is up to  10 years of imprisonment and if the act committed has caused hurt to the person, then punishment may extend to life imprisonment and fine both. 

To hold a person guilty under the provisions of sec. 307 Indian Penal Code, all the ingredients of murder that immediately does not cause the death of the person must exist. These are as follows:

  • The death of a human being must be attempted.
  • The accused must have made the attempt.
  • The act must be done with the intention of causing death, or it is done with the intention of causing bodily injury such as
  1. The accused must likely know to cause death,
  2. That it was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death
  • The accused must have attempted to cause the death of a person by doing an act which was already known to him and was of such a dangerous nature that it must have caused
  1. Death, or
  2. Such bodily injury which is likely to cause death.

Most Read: IPC Section 304

In addition to the above-mentioned ingredients, to prove the case of attempt to murder, there must be evidence to show that acts were committed in the mens rea of the person. It is to be proved that:

  1. There was the presence of Mens Rea, that the accused had done something which in point of law marked the commission of the offence,
  2. The mens rea, that in taking the step, the person was inspired by the intention to achieve a respectively defined objective. 

In the cases of section 307, it is not necessary that injury that can cause death should have been inflicted. What actually matters here and makes a person liable under the ambit of section 307 is the guilty intention or his rational knowledge with which that act was done, keeping aside its results. In the case of Ansarudin v. State of Madhya Pradesh, it was held by the court that the intention and knowledge are the matters that need to be always kept in mind. Intention and knowledge of a person shall always be inferred from the totality of circumstances and cannot be merely measured from the results of the act committed.

A person commits an offence under IPC 307 when-

  • He has the intention to commit murder,
  • In order of pursuance of his intention commits an act.

Hence, it can be said that to commit an offence under section 307, there must be an act committed under such circumstances:

  • That death might be caused if the act took effect,
  • That the act complained of must be capable of causing death in the natural and ordinary course of events.

If the act committed was not of such a description, a person could not be convicted of an attempt to murder as provided under section 307, though the act was done with the intention of causing death and was likely in the belief of the prisoner to cause death.

For convicting a person under this section, it is not necessary that the accused should complete every stage involved in committing murder. It is enough if in the attempt he did an act towards the commission of the offence. If the accused intended that the consequences of his act should result in death, but he was frustrated only by other circumstances, he would be guilty of an attempt to commit the offence of Murder. The act committed under section 307 should be of such a nature it would have completed beyond the control of the accused, it would have resulted in the death of the person.

The punishment for committing the offence of attempt to murder is divided into three paras.

Para- I state punishment to whosoever commits an act to cause death, the person shall be liable for imprisonment for 10 years, which is a non-bailable and cognizable offence, triable by Court of Sessions.
Whereas Para- II states when hurt is caused, punishment is imprisonment for life, or it may also be of 10 years depending upon the nature and gravity of the offence. An act committed under this para is a cognizable and non-bailable offence, triable by Court of Sessions.

However, Para-III states, if the act of attempt to murder was committed by life convicts, they shall be liable to death or imprisonment for 10 years as well as fine. An offence committed under this para is cognizable and non-bailable, which is triable by Court of Sessions. 

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