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Doctrine Of Transferred Malice

Section 301: “Culpable homicide by causing death of person other than person whose death was intended: If a person, by doing anything which he intends or knows to be likely to cause death, commits culpable homicide by causing the death of any person, whose death he neither intends nor knows himself to be likely to cause, the culpable homicide committed by the offender is of the description of which it would have been if he had caused the death of person, whose death he intended or knew himself to be likely to cause.”

Object of Section 301: This Section lays down that culpable homicide may be committed by causing the death of a person whom the offender neither intended, nor knew himself to be likely, to kill. For instance, A intends to kill B but Kills C whose death he neither intends nor knows himself to be likely to cause. The intention to kill C is, by law attributed to him. One may call such killing as causing another’s death by mistake.

The object of this section is to lay down that the nature of culpable homicide of which the accused in such cases would be guilty, namely whether murder or not, would be the same as he would have been guilty of if the person had been killed.

Applicability of Section 301: This Section applies where the death of the person, whose death is intended, or known to be likely to occur, by the person doing the act does not, as a fact, occur, but the death of someone else occurs as a result of the act done by him. In Suryanarayana Murthy case (1912 Mad): the accused, with the intention of killing A, in whose name he had effected insurance gave some sweets mixed with poison to him. A ate a proton of it and then threw it away which was picked up and eaten by two children who died due to poisoning. A eventually recover, the accused was held guilty of murder of the two children.

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