CAUSES OF DEATH FROM WOUNDS 233
in its proper care and treatment. In this connection it may be mentioned
that a person is not bound to submit himself to medical treatment lor
injuries received during an assault.
In all these cases an assailant is liable to be indicted for manslaughter *>
according to the English law, if the cause o£ death is directly and definitely
traceable to the injury, and the relation between cause and effect Is no:
obscured by the action of concurrent causes. In a case where a wound, not
in itself mortal, caused death from gangrene owing to neglect or want of
proper applications, it was held that the party by whom the wound WcS
inflicted was guilty of murder. For, though the fever or gangrene, and not
the wound, be the immediate cause of the death, yet the wound being the
cause of gangrene or fever, is the immediate cause of the death, causa
causati.9 To justify a conviction of murder against an assailant in India
it is necessary at the same time to prove that the act was committed -with
the intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knew that it was
likely to cause death or was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to
cause death (vide section 300, I.P.C., Appendix IV). If these conditions are
not fulfilled, the assailant may be convicted under the offence of culpable
homicide not amounting to murder or grievous hurt, or even simple hurt
according to the circumstances of the case. The kind of the weapon used
and the site of the violence are also taken into consideration for deciding
whether the crime falls under section 300 or any other section of the Indian
In November 1928, I held a post-mortem examination on the body of one Must.
Sumarta who died from starvation and pneumonia about 25 days after her throat was
cut with a scvthe (hansia). The accused, the uncle of the deceased, was found guilty
of murder and sentenced to death. In a case where the accused savagely attacked and
wounded their cousin with a hatchet, who was laid up with fever in consequence of
the wounds for about 40 days and ultimately died of blood poisoning, it was held that
the accused were guilty of murder, the wounds inflicted by them being the cause of
death.10 In another case the accused stabbed the deceased with a dagger in the back.
The wound, though not severe, was in such a part of the body that it was considered
dangerous ; but the dagger did not penetrate to any great length. The wound healed
in about seven days, at the end of which symptoms indicative of tetanus were observed
and the deceased died from that cause on the following day. It was held that there
was no reasonable doubt that tetanus was due to the wound inflicted by the accused,
who were found guilty of murder.11
Fazla, Mohamed Din, and others made a murderous assault upon one Jalal which
resulted in the fracture of a number of his ribs and other injuries. Jalal was removed
to hospital where he developed pneumonia and died after ten days. It was held that
the perpetrators of the attack upon the deceased were guilty of murder.12
An incised wound which by itself was not grievous or dangerous was inflicted on
the right calf on the 22nd August 1922. Tetanus set in on the 31st August 1922, and this
caused the death of the victim on the 3rd September 1922, The assailant was sentenced
to two years' rigorous imprisonment under section 324, IP.C.13
7. Result of a Surgical Operation.—If death follows a surgical operation
performed for the treatment of an injury, the assailant is responsible for the
result, if it is proved that the death was inevitable even without the
operation, and that the operation was thought necessary and was performed
8. Unlawful killing of another without any malice, either expressed or implied,
which act may be either brought about by sudden passion or by improper actioa of
9. I Hale P.O. 428 ; Flynn, (1868) 16 WJt (Eng.) 319; Ratanlal and Thakore, L®m
of Crimes, Ed. XVH, p. 701; Mammi, 29 Cr. Law JQUT., p. 345 ; Kga Paw, (1936) 38 €V.
Law Jour., p. 103.
10. Nuro, (1913) 7 S.L.R. 83; 15 Crim, Law Jour., 1914, p. 376 ; Ratanlal and 3ba&eKe^
Law of Crimes, Ed. XVTE, p. 716; Kala, (1943) 46 PJUR 69.
11. Nga Dwe, (1904) 1 trim. Law Jour., p. 909 ; Ibid., p. 717.
12. 29 Crim. Law Jour., Aug. 1928, p. 678 ; vide also 45 Crim. Law Jo^«% 194& p. &S8
(Madras High Court Crim. Appeal No. 480 of 1943. Dorasami Servai v. K. &}.
13. 26 Crim. Law Jour., 1925, p. 294.