*”The first rule of criminal law

*”The first rule of criminal law that you need to understand is the fact that the law doesn’t punish the commission of an Act.”*

Therefore when A kills B, it may or may not be punishable by law. Depends a lot in the circumstances.

What is punishable is not the act but the guilty mind. The law uses the words ‘Mens Rea’. Therefore, the prosecution in order to get a conviction not only has to prove the commission of the crime by the accused but also the fact that he intended to do so. A lunatic may also kill someone, but that wouldn’t be a murder because the lunatic doesn’t intend to kill. the following could be called as the Exceptions or defenses to a charge of murder –

*1. Self Defense -*


If you kill a person in self defense, it is considered legal. The only rule here is that your defense should be proportional to the attack (your force should be equal / proportional to the force exerted by the aggressor). Which means if someone comes unarmed and assaults you, you can’t take out your gun and shoot. That isn’t proportional.

*2. Mistake -*

Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is or who by reason of a mistake of fact and not by a reason of a mistake of law, in good faith believes himself to be bound by law to do it.

*3. Accident -*

Nothing is an offence which is done by accident or misfortune, and without any criminal intention or knowledge in doing of a lawful act, in a lawful manner by lawful means with proper care and caution.

*4. Act of child -*

Nothing is an offence if committed by a child below the age of 7 years.

*5. Insanity -*

Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, by the reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.

*6. Intoxication -*

Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who at the time of doing it is by reason of intoxication, incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law: provided that the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will.

*Shashi Kant Bhati*
Advocate, Ghaziabad
+91-9457177171

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