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Supreme Court on Section 100 of IPC (Indian Penal Code)


Authored By- Munis Nasir


Keywords

Exercise of the right, Reasonable cause, Indian Penal Code

Abstract

The right of private defence is essentially a defensive right circumscribed by the Indian Penal Code, available only when the circumstances only justify it. The seventh clause added by the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013 adds more power to section 100. The Article talks about the cases related to the apprehension of death and reasonable apprehension of grievous hurt.


Introduction

Section 100 of the IPC talks about when the right of private defence of the body extends to causing death. The right of private defence exceeds to the causing of death only when the offence which occasions the exercise of the right is one of the kinds mentioned in this section.


The right of private defence of the body extends, under the restrictions mentioned in the last preceding Section 99 which talks about acts against which there is no right of private defence, to the voluntary causing of death or of any other harm to the assailant, if the offence which occasions the exercise of the right be of any of the descriptions hereinafter enumerated, namely:-


First- Such an assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that death will otherwise be the consequence of such assault;


Secondly- Such an assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that grievous hurt will otherwise be the consequence of such assault;


Thirdly- An assault with the intention of committing rape;


Fourthly- An assault with the intention of gratifying unnatural lust;


Fifthly- An assault with the intention of kidnapping or abducting;


Sixthly- An assault with the intention of wrongfully confining a person, under circumstances which may reasonably cause him to apprehend that he will be unable to have recourse to the public authorities for his release.


Seventhly- An act of throwing or administering acid or an attempt to throw or administer acid which may reasonably cause the apprehension that grievous hurt will otherwise be the consequence of such act.[1]


By the Criminal Amendment Act of 2013, a new clause has been added in section 100 of the Indian Penal Code. The seventh clause adds a new clause whereby an act of throwing or administering acid or an attempt to throw or administer acid which may reasonably cause the apprehension of grievous hurt has been made an additional ground for causing death in self-defence.


In Harjinder Singh v. Karnail Singh,[2] the accused was brought to the court on the charge that they took forcible possession of land from the complainant party and also opened 30-40 rounds of gunshots while chasing and also killed some person. It was held that opening 30-40 rounds of gunshots was unnecessary and therefore accused exceeded the right of private defence and thereby committed the offence under Section 304, Part I of the Indian Penal Code read with Section 34.[3]


Apprehension of Death


In State v. Dhiria Bhavji,[4] it was held that an apprehension in the mind of the accused that death caused due to witchcraft is unreasonable and therefore, there can be no right to private defence against such apprehension unless physical violence from the opponent is apprehended.


In State of U.P. v. Laeeq[5] the appellant was tried along with three others for committing the murder of Ashfaq Hussain and causing injuries to four others. The other three accused were acquitted by the trial court. Laeeq was given the benefit of Exception (4) to section 300, IPC,[6] and convicted him under section 304 of IPC[7] and sentenced him to suffer imprisonment for life. The State filed appeal against acquittals and Laeeq filed to appeal his conviction in the High Court. Both the appeals were heard together by the High Court and the appeal by state was dismissed but the appeal by Laeeq was allowed. Hence this special leave petition in the Supreme Court by the State was filed. It was held by the Supreme Court that after going through the record “we find that neither in cross-examination of the witnesses it was suggested nor in his statement under Section 313, CrPC.”[8] The respondent stated that he had given the knife blow to the deceased. The required justification for causing death in the exercise of self-defence was neither pleaded specifically nor does the material on record probabilise the same. Without considering this aspect the High Court gave the benefit of section 100, IPC and acquitted the respondent. The acquittal of the respondent was set aside by the Supreme Court as he exceeded his right of private defence. The respondent was therefore convicted under section 304, IPC and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for five years.

Reasonable apprehension of grievous hurt

In the case of Bahadur Singh v. State of Punjab,[9] it was held that the plea of self-defence may be put forward during the trial even though it was not put forward during the investigation.


Conclusion

Therefore a right to defend does not include a right to launch an offensive, particularly when the need to defend no longer survived. The right of private defence extends to the causing of death only when the offence falls under any of the seven kinds mentioned. Even while considering the right to private defence, it is irrelevant whether the accused has a chance to inflict severe injury on the offender.[10]

[1] The Indian Penal Code 1860 [2] A.I.R. 1998 S.C. 1648 [3] Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention [4](1963) 1 Cri. L.J. 431 [5] A.I.R. 1999 S.C. 1942 [6] Culpable homicide is not murder if it is committed without premeditation in a sudden fight in the heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel and without the offender having taken undue advantage or acted in a cruel manner [7] Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder [8] Power of the trial court to examine the accused to explain evidence adduced against him [9] A.I.R. 1993 SC 70 [10] INDIAN PENAL CODE by Prof.S.N.MISRA

References-

1. https://www.casemine.com/judgement/in/5767b113e691cb22da6d2744

2. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/941583/

3. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1001513/

4. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/46342213/

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