In the scheme of the Penal Code, “culpable homicide” is genus and “murder” its specie. All “murder” is “culpable homicide” but not vice-versa.
in 2017, the Supreme Court in Surain Singh Vs State of Punjab has explained the differences between two exceptions of Murder - Grave and Sudden provocation AND Sudden Fight / Quarrel.
Murder Under Section 300 has four exceptions;
1- Grave and Sudden provocation
2- Right of private defence
3- Public servant acted on good faith
4- Sudden Fight / Quarrel
The SC observed : (a) in both Exceptions , there is absence of premeditation
(b) while in the case of Exception 1 there is total deprivation of self-control, in case of Exception 4, there is only that heat of passion which clouds men’s sober reason and urges them to deeds which they would not otherwise do.
(c) there is provocation in both Exceptions :-
There is provocation in Exception 4 as in Exception 1, but the injury done is not the direct consequence of that provocation. In fact, Exception 4 deals with cases in which notwithstanding that a blow may have been struck, or some provocation given in the origin of the dispute or in whatever way the quarrel may have originated, yet the subsequent conduct of both parties puts them in respect of guilt upon an equal footing.A “sudden fight” implies mutual provocation and blows on each side. The homicide committed is then clearly not traceable to unilateral provocation, nor could in such cases the whole blame be placed on one side. For if it were so, the Exception more appropriately applicable would be Exception 1.
There is no previous deliberation or determination to fight. A fight suddenly takes place, for which both parties are more or less to be blamed.
The help of Exception 4 can be invoked if death is caused (a) without premeditation, (b) in a sudden fight, (c) without the offenders having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel or unusual manner, and (d) the fight must have been with the person killed.
To bring a case within Exception 4 all the ingredients mentioned in it must be found. It is to be noted that the “fight” occurring in Exception 4 to Section 300 IPC is not defined in IPC. It takes two to make a fight. Heat of passion requires that there must be no time for the passions to cool down and in this case, the parties had worked themselves into a fury on account of the verbal altercation in the beginning.
A fight is a combat between two and more persons whether with or without weapons. It is not possible to enunciate any general rule as to what shall be deemed to be a sudden quarrel. It is a question of fact and whether a quarrel is sudden or not.
Where, on a sudden quarrel, a person in the heat of the moment picks up a weapon which is handy and causes injuries, one of which proves fatal, he would be entitled to the benefit of this Exception provided he has not acted cruelly.