Offence of Miscarriage
314. Death caused by act done with intent to cause miscarriage.—Whoever, with intent to cause the miscarriage of a woman with child, does any act which causes the death of such woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine; If act done without woman’s consent.—And if the act is done without the consent of the woman, shall be punished either with imprisonment for life, or with the punishment above mentioned.
Explanation.—It is not essential to this offence that the offender should know that the act is likely to cause death.
The wording of the Section is abundantly clear that it foists on a person who, in the course of inducing a miscarriage, does an act which results in the death of a woman, the liability for such consequence. The explanation to the section clarifies that it is not essential to this offence that the offender should know that the act is likely to cause death. The Courts have held that even in a situation where a poisonous drug was administered to a woman to procure miscarriage and it was not proved that the accused knew that the drug was likely to cause death, that it still constituted an offence under this Section. The direct implication obviously is that unlike Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code, the nature of the act is not the qualifying aspect but, more importantly, the consequences thereof. In other words, if what is done for purposes of inducing a miscarriage causes the death of a woman, it would be no defence to argue that the character of the act was not of such a nature as would cause death or that it can be demonstrated that there never was any intention to cause death.