In a case single knife blow above the left clavicle had cut the superior venacava resulting into an injury sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. It was held’ that even medical men may not be able to judge precisely the location of superior vanacava hence the injury cannot be termed as intentional and the case cannot fall in clause third.

In the case of Keeker Singh v. State of Rajasthan, the Supreme Court observed that if injury caused by a person to another is fatal which is enough to cause death, the person causing death will be responsible for death. If injury is not fatal but the person to whom injury is caused died, person who has caused injury will not be responsible for death.

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In determining whether the bodily injury is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, the enquiry is not confined to the intention of the accused. Once the intention of the accused to cause the injuries has been established, the Court will have to judge objectively from the nature of the injuries and other evidence, including the medical opinion as to whether the injuries intentionally caused were sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.

The possibility that skilful and efficient medical treatment might prevent the fatal result is wholly irrelevant. In view of the hesitant medical opinion about the cause of death and the further fact that the deceased died a month after the occurrence, the ingredients of this clause have been established beyond reasonable doubt.

The evidence fulfils one of the ingredients of Section 299, namely, that death was caused with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death. The distinction between the expression “likely to cause death” and “sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death” is significant although rather fine, and sometimes rather deceptive. The case falls under Section 304 (Part I), I.P.C.

The assailants had conspired together to burgle the seal of naval office on the eve of the pay day and they had collected various articles, e.g., Naval officers’ dress, a bottle of chloroform, a hackshaw with sware blades, etc. etc.

On the night in question they decoyed the Lt. Commander from his house on some pretext and in a lonely place caught hold of him. They covered his mouth with the adhesive plaster and tied a handkerchief over the plaster and plugged his nostrils with cotton wool soaked in chloroform.

They tied his hands and legs with rope and deposited him in shallow drain with own shirt put under his head as a pillow. Next morning the dead body of the deceased was discovered in the drain where he had been left by the assailants.

It was admitted that closing of the mouth with adhesive plaster and the handkerchief was complete and it must have been impossible for the deceased to breathe through his mouth. According to the doctor the death was due to asphyxiation. It was held by their Lordships of the Supreme Court that the case was covered by Section

300, Clause (3) and the accused were guilty of murder. Accused went armed with dagger to village of his in-laws to fetch his wife (victim). Accused inflicting through and through penetrating wound seriously injuring lever and colon.

Injury inflicted without slightest provocation. Whole affair appeared to be preplanned. According to doctor, injury was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death. It has been held that the case squarely fell within the ambit of Clause (3) of Section 300.

(4) If the act is done with the knowledge that it is so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death and the offender commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury.

Illustration:

A, without any excuse fires a loaded cannon into a crowd of persons and kills one of them. A is guilty of murder, although he may not have had a pre-meditated design to kill any particular individual.

Fourth clause of Section 300 can only apply when the case is not covered by any of the first three clauses of that section. The earlier part of Clause (4) of Section 300 refers to cases where the act of the accused is itself so imminently dangerous that it must in all probability, cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

The emphasis in the preceding para (4) is on the imminently dangerous nature of the act itself. It cannot be said that the attack by fists or by the wooden end of a scythe is by itself of such a nature as must, in all probability cause death.

Clause (4) of Section 300 is usually to apply to cases where the act of offender is not direct against particular person. There may even be no intention to cause harm or injury to any particular individual.

The act proceeds not from any malicious intention towards any particular individual but is the result of a general disregard for human life and safety. There may, however, be rare cases in which the target of attack even under Clause (4) may be simply individual.

In any case, the degree of knowledge required under Clause (4) is so strong as to make it impossible to believe that the peril of the act ensuring in fatal consequences, had not irresistibly forced itself on the mind of the offender and yet he had deliberately chosen to disregard this danger signal. Under this clause, the degree of the probability or likelihood of the act resulting in fatal harm is of the highest level.

Although, Clause (4) is usually invoked in those cases where there is no intention to cause death of any particular person (as the illustration shows) the clause may on its terms be used in those cases where there is such callousness towards the result and the risk taken is such that it may be stated that the person knows that the act is likely to cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death.

Since no special knowledge is needed to know that one may cause death by burning if he sets fire to the clothes of a person, it is obvious that the accused must have known that he was running the risk of causing the death of the victim or such bodily injury as was likely to cause death. As he had no excuse for incurring that risk, the offence must be taken to fall within Clause (4) of Section 300.

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