Accused A demanded some money from the deceased B which the latter owed him. The deceased promised to pay later on and the accused A thereupon kicked him twice on the abdomen and the deceased collapsed. Has A committed…

By | August 1, 2021
ipc mains

Question: Accused A demanded some money from the deceased B which the latter owed him. The deceased promised to pay later on and the accused A thereupon kicked him twice on the abdomen and the deceased collapsed. Has A committed the offence of either ‘murder’ or ‘culpable homicide? If not, then what offence, if any, has been committed by A? Give reasons and also refer to the ‘authority (case law)’, if any, on the point.

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Accused A demanded some money from the deceased B which the latter owed him. The deceased promised to pay later on and the accused A thereupon kicked him twice on the abdomen and the deceased collapsed. Has A committed…]

Answer

A has committed no offence of murder or culpable homicide. He is punishable for voluntarily causing hurt under section 323, Indian Penal Code,1860.

Section 319 defines hurt as,

Whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.

This section does not define any offence. It merely states what is the meaning of ‘hurt’. The expression ‘bodily pain’ means that the pain must be physical as opposed to any mental pain. So, mentally or emotionally hurting somebody will not be ‘hurt’ within the meaning of this section.

However, in order to come within this section, it is not necessary that any visible injury should be caused on the victim. All that the section contemplates is the causing of bodily pain. The degree or severity of the pain is not a material factor to decide whether this section will apply or not.

A blow or a fisticuff will come within the meaning of ‘causing bodily pain’ and hence, will be covered under this section.

Section 321 deals with the provision for Voluntarily causing hurt,

Whoever does any act with the intention of thereby causing hurt to any person, or with the knowledge that he is likely thereby to cause hurt to any person, and does thereby cause hurt to any person, is said: “voluntarily to cause hurt.

From a reading of the section, it is clear that the most essential component of this section is ‘intention’ to cause hurt or the ‘knowledge’ that the act is likely to cause hurt. If ‘intention’ or ‘knowledge’ is absent, then it will not amount to voluntarily causing hurt.

Intention to cause hurt, or knowledge that an act is likely to cause hurt is the most decisive factor to decide whether a person can be held guilty of voluntarily causing hurt. The extent of injury that is actually caused is not relevant, but what is the intention with which the hurt was caused is relevant.

There may be cases where the act may even result in death. But, if the intention of the accused as gathered from the surrounding background facts, was only to cause hurt, then the accused will be punishable only under this section and not for murder.

In the present case, the victim was given two kicks in the abdomen to which he collapsed. It is the offence of only causing simple hurt as it is the settled principle that a person must be punished for the hurt he intended to cause or had knowledge that it is likely to be caused as a result of the act done by the person.

No one should be punished for the unfortunate and completely unforeseen results of the acts done.


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