Report No. 35
The Muslim law of homicide (as administered at the advent of the British rule) seems to have been elaborate. Certain types of homicide were regarded as lawful and justified. Further, "retaliation" for the murder was allowed in certain cases. Homicide in self-defence or in the prevention of adultery, rape or other serious offences or at the express desire of the person killed was excusable, and so was homicide committed under threat of death1. Apart from these, and apart from specified cases, homicide was an offence and "wilful homicide"-Qatl-i-Amd2-was punishable with death or retaliation where permissible. The other types of illegal homicide were punishable with "fine of blood" (Diyut), and, in certain cases, by expiation and exclusion from the inheritance3.
This brings us to the question of what was "wilful homicide", and what were the other types of "illegal homicide".
1. Hamilton Translation of the Hedaya, (London), (1791), Vol. 4, pp. 290 to 293 and 316, may be seen.
2. Harrington's Analysis of Bengal Regulations, (1821), Vol. I, p. 251.
3. Harrington's Analysis of Bengal Regulations, (1821), Vol. I, pp. 251 to 256.