Posts tagged ‘private defense’

Right of private defense

Chapter IV of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 contains some interesting rights available to a citizen, from sections 96 to 106 under the caption, “Right of Private Defense”. This is an exceptional area where the law permits the victims to react, when they themselves or their fellow beings are subjected to an offence. In fact nothing is an offence under the eyes of law, which is done in the exercise of private defense.

Every person has a right, subject to few restrictions enumerated in section 99 IPC, to defend his own body and of any other person, against any offence affecting human body or to defend his or another person’s property where such property is subjected to offences of theft, robbery, mischief etc. The right of private defense of the body extends even to causing harm or death of the assailant, if the offence one faces, is that which causes a reasonable apprehension of death, rape, unnatural lust and kidnapping. In the cases of other lesser serious offences, the victim can cause reasonable harm to the assailant during the exercise of the right of private defense.

There are, however, few restrictions to the exercise of this valuable right. This right cannot be exercised against a public servant acting in good faith, under the color of his office, which does not cause a reasonable apprehension of death or grievous hurt, thought his act may not be strictly justifiable under law. Similarly, if there is sufficient time for the victim, to have recourse to the protection of authorities, then this right cannot be exercised. Also a person cannot inflict more harm on the assailant than that is necessary for the purpose of defense.

It is interesting to note that this right is available not only to victims of offence, but it also permits others to interfere if another person or property is subjected to an offence.