Serial Killings in India

The National Institutes of Justice suggests defining sexually violent offenders as those whose sexual desires drive them to conduct acts of extreme violence. This definition explores the motivations behind criminals' hedonistic behavior. At its core, it is about the desire for sexual gratification, which can lead a person to commit horrendous acts.

Serial Killings in India: An Overview

A criminal offense is any unlawful behavior that harms others and the community and is penalized by law. The Latin word crmen, from which our English word "crime" is derived, means "charge" or "cream of distress." The ancient Greek word krima, derived from the Latin cognate, meant an intellectual blunder or an infraction against society rather than a personal or moral wrong. Although serial murder is unfortunately not uncommon in India, most published works on serial killers in the country are works of fiction. Thug Behram, who allegedly killed over 900 people in the 18th century, and Yerukali Sreenu, accused of murdering over a thousand people in the 20th century, are just two examples.

In a study just released by National Crime Records Bureau, BHOPAL learns that in 2021, Madhya Pradesh had the greatest number of psychopaths & serial murdering cases in the country (NCRB). The NCRB found that compared to the year 2020, violent crime in the state increased by 11.8%. In 2021, there were 26,038 violent crimes reported in the state, up from 23,287 in the previous year.

Types of Serial Killers

The following Components Interact to Create the Ideal Environment for Serial Killing to occur

Aspects of Society

Serial murder has been linked to various societal, cultural, and economic variables. One of the main causes of such behavior is a dysfunctional upbringing. Children raised in homes where violence and aggressiveness are normalized more likely to adopt these attitudes and behaviors. Children who witness violence are more likely to engage in violent and criminal behavior themselves, either as adults or as children.

Influencing Considerations from a Psychological Perspective

Psychology and criminology share numerous similarities. According to a study, mentally ill persons commit more crimes. Schizophrenia, bipolar condition, and schizoaffective disorder are associated with criminal behavior. Traumatized youth commit more crimes. Many serial killers kill to gratify their sexual cravings.

Natural Causes

Psychophysiology, brain, and genetics are the biological aspects of criminal behavior. Psychophysiology studies disorders and physiological signals. Heart rate or skin conductance are psychophysiological indicators (i.e., sweat rate). Neurotransmitters carry electrochemical impulses. Childhood abuse, assault, and neglect can permanently lower serotonin levels, leading to unlawful behavior. Excessive anger, caused by high testosterone levels, can lead to crime.

Indian Law and Serial Killings

Serial murder is not illegal in India, and serial homicides are punished under the Indian Penal Code Sections 304 and 302. According to Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code, culpable homicide is causing death by executing an action with the goal of killing, causing physical injury likely to kill, or knowing it would kill. Culpable homicide in India is a life sentence or 10-year sentence under Section 304. Murder is intentional homicide under Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code.

  • If the aggressor aims to kill the victim through physical means,

  • If anything is committed to harm another person, and the harm done is severe enough to induce death in a natural setting, it is murder.

  • When an individual acts in a way that they know will almost certainly result in the death of another individual or in extremely serious bodily harm that is likely to result in death, they do so without reasonable justification.

  • A person convicted of murder in India is subject to the death penalty, life in prison, and a fine under section 302 of the country's penal code.

Punishment under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code

No conduct committed by an individual who, at the time of its commission, is unable to understand the nature of the action or to recognize that it is wrong or against the law shall be considered an offense. According to the Indian Penal Code section 84, an offender can only be convicted of an offense if he possesses the necessary men's rea at the time of the offense. On the other hand, if the criminal were mentally ill at the time of the crime, he would not be held responsible because he would not have known that what he did was wrong. Raman Raghav, also popularly called "Jack the Ripper of India," was tried and found guilty of killing more than 40 people in Mumbai in the 1960s. He used a blunt object to kill individuals, including children, and his preferred method of execution was to snap their jaws and smash their heads.

For an act to be considered criminal under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, it must have been committed by a person of unsound mind who lacked the mental capacity to appreciate the wrongfulness of his actions. However, one must distinguish between legal and medical insanity, as the court only considers the former. When a person cannot reason and recognize that his behavior violates the law, he is considered legally crazy. When insanity is used as a defense, the defendant must show that he could not think logically or realize that what he was doing was wrong at the time of the crime or something like it.

Cases of Serial Murder and the Legal Response

India has no repeated murder law, and section 302 of the Indian Penal Code accounts for most convictions. Under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, insanity is not a crime; hence, criminals can use it as a defense. Many Indians with persistent mental illness have committed crimes, treated the same as other offenses, and section 84 of Indian law covers such crimes. Rehabilitating mentally sick serial killers is ideal. Treat their illness, not their crime. However, such people lack adequate laws and organizations.


India has had many serial murders. Most serial killers have paranoid schizophrenia, significant depression, or some severe mental illness. Numerous criminals cannot realize the severity of their conduct, making it vital to create special provisions to accommodate them in Indian law to treat their mental problems before conviction. It is well known that psychopaths are responsible for most serial killer instances and that their actions cannot be compared with those of "normal" people who understand them. Like Raman Raghav, serial murderers with paranoid schizophrenia do not realize their deeds are unethical.