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Hurt and grievous Hurt (IPC)

Updated: May 12


Hurt and grievous Hurt (IPC)
Hurt and grievous Hurt (IPC)

Content:-



Sec. 319: Hurt


“Whoever caused bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt”.


This section encompasses hurt caused by any means, including nervous shock or mental derangement, but excludes mere mental pain. Deliberately causing shock to someone with a weak heart constitutes hurt.



Bodily pain, beyond trivial harm, is covered, such as aggressive dragging by hair or punching in an attack. Causing disease involves transmitting diseases like TB, Measles, HIV/AIDS, or COVID-19 through physical contact, including sexually transmitted diseases. Judicial decisions vary on liability for disease transmission.



For instance, a prostitute transmitting Syphilis was held liable under Sec. 269 for spreading infection, not causing hurt.


However, inducing sexual intercourse with a venereal disease and infecting a minor resulted in guilt for indecent assault.


'Infirmity' refers to the temporary or permanent inability of an organ to function normally, including states of temporary impairment, hysteria, or terror.

 
 

Sec. 320: Grievous Hurt


“The following kinds of hurt only are designated as “grievous”:-


First - Emasculation


Secondly - Permanent privation of the sight of either eye. 


Thirdly - Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear. 


Fourthly - Privation of any member or joint.


Fifthly - Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint. 


Sixthly - Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.


Seventhly - Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth


Eighthly - Any hurt which endangers life or which causes the sufferer to be during the space of twenty days in severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits.” 



To establish grievous hurt, the injury must fall within the specific categories outlined in Sec. 320, which exhaustively lists the types of grievous hurt.


Merely spending 20 days in the hospital does not automatically qualify as grievous hurt unless it involves severe bodily pain or disables the victim from their usual activities during that time.



Grievous hurt is more severe, often endangering life. Injuries are considered grievous only if they pose a direct threat to life, not simply because they affect vital body parts.


For hurt or grievous hurt to be punishable, it must be caused voluntarily, as defined in Secs. 321 and 322 of the IPC.



Sec. 321: Voluntarily causing Hurt

“Whoever does any act with the intention 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”.


Sec. 322: Voluntarily causing Grievous Hurt


“Whoever voluntarily causes hurt, if the hurt which he intends to cause or know himself to be likely to cause is grievous hurt, and if the hurt which he causes is grievous hurt, is said “voluntarily to cause grievous hurt”.

Explanation -A person is not said voluntarily to cause grievous hurt except when he both causes grievous hurt and intends or knows himself to be likely to cause grievous hurt. But he is said voluntarily to cause grievous hurt, if intending or knowing himself to be likely to cause grievous hurt of one kind, he actually causes grievous hurt of another kind. 



Sec. 323. Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt  


“Whoever voluntarily causes hurt shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.”



Sec. 325. Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt  


“Whoever voluntarily causes grievous hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.”



Sec. 326. Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means 


“Whoever, except in the case provided for by Sec. 325, voluntarily causes grievous hurt by means of any instrument for shooting, stabbing or cutting, or any instrument which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, or by means of fire/heated substance/ poison/corrosive or explosive substance/any substance deleterious to the human body to inhale, to swallow, or to receive into the blood, or by means of any animal, shall  be punished with imprisonment for life or imprisonment up to 10 years, and fine.”



Hurt Resulting in Death


In cases where there is no intention to cause death or knowledge that death is likely, the accused may be guilty of 'hurt' if the injuries are non-serious.


For instance, in Beshor Bewa (1872) 18 W.R. (Cr.) 29, the accused chastised her daughter with a kick and slaps, resulting in death, leading to a conviction for causing hurt.



Similarly, in Randhir Singh (1881) All 597, the accused threw a brick, causing death due to a ruptured spleen, but lacked intent for serious bodily harm, thus convicted for causing hurt.


Likewise, in Marana Goundan (AIR 1941 Mad 560), a kick to the abdomen resulting in death led to a conviction for causing hurt, as there was no intent or knowledge of life-threatening consequences.




Grievous Hurt Resulting in Death


When a person voluntarily causes grievous hurt and as a consequence the victim dies, determining whether it falls under culpable homicide not amounting to murder or grievous hurt hinges on the nature of the injuries.



In Government of Bombay v Abdul Wahab (AIR 1946 Bom 38), the court emphasised the distinction between the two offences, with grievous hurt endangering life, while injuries likely to cause death being a more severe offence.



Similarly, in re Guruvulu (1945) Mad 73, where there is no intent or knowledge of death resulting from serious injuries, the accused may be convicted under Sec. 325, IPC. 



However, if evidence suggests an intention to cause death, the case would fall under Sec. 302, as seen in Laxman v State of Maharashtra (AIR 1974 SC 1803).


The specific circumstances dictate the charge; for instance, in Kure v State (AIR 1919 All 379), the assailant's intent and the nature of the injury determine whether it's grievous hurt or culpable homicide not amounting to murder.



Similarly, in State of Karnataka v Shivalingaiah (AIR 1988 SC 115), where death results from a sudden act without intent, Sec. 325 applies.


Contrastingly, in Pirthi v State of Haryana (AIR 1994 SC 1582), where the injury didn't directly cause death, Sec. 323 was applied. 


Moreover, in Harpal Singh v Devinder Singh (1997 CrLJ 356), intent and facilitation of the crime influenced the charges, while in E.K. Chandrasenan v State of Kerala (AIR 1995 SC 1067), the knowledge of harm caused determined the offence.


Lastly, in State of Karnataka v Mohd. Nazeer (AIR 2003 SC 999), where the injury directly caused death, Sec. 302 was deemed appropriate.

 
 

Leading Case Laws


RAMBARAN MAHTON V THE STATE (AIR 1958 PAT 452): In this case, the altercation between two brothers resulted in the death of one. The accused argued that there was no intention or knowledge to cause grievous hurt. The High Court clarified that for the offence of voluntarily causing grievous hurt under Sec. 325, there must be correspondence between the accused's intention or knowledge and the resulting harm.


The means of causing injury is not decisive; rather, it depends on the nature of the injury and the manner of administering blows. In this instance, although the accused may not have intended to cause grievous hurt, the severity of the injuries inflicted, including ruptured ribs and spleen, indicates that grievous hurt was likely.


Despite the absence of intent to kill or cause such severe injury, the accused's actions amounted to grievous hurt, considering the circumstances and lack of intention. Thus, even though death resulted, the offence remains one of grievous hurt.



ACID ATTACKS


Sec. 326A: Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc

“Whoever causes permanent or partial damage or deformity to, or bums or maims or disfigures or disables, any part or parts of the body of a person or causes grievous hurt by throwing acid on or by administering acid to that person, or by using any other means with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine: 

Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses of the treatment of the victim: Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim.”




Sec. 326B: Voluntarily throwing or attempting to throw acid

“Whoever throws or attempts to throw acid on any person or attempts to administer acid to any person, or attempts to use any other means, with the intention of causing permanent or partial damage or deformity or burns or maiming or disfigurement or disability or grievous hurt to that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine. 

Explanation I. For the purposes of Sec. 326A and this section, “acid” includes any substance which has acidic or corrosive character or burning nature, that is capable of causing bodily injury leading to scars or disfigurement or temporary or permanent disability.

Explanation 2. For the purposes ofSec. 326A and this section, permanent or partial damage or deformity shall not be required to be irreversible.”



Secs. 326A and 326B were introduced in the Indian Penal Code in 2013 to address the alarming increase in acid attacks against women. These attacks, motivated by jealousy or revenge, cause severe physical and psychological trauma to survivors. Sec. 326A deals with causing grievous hurt by acid, while Sec. 326B covers throwing or attempting to throw acid.



Sec. 326A imposes a harsher penalty and includes provisions for fines to cover medical expenses. The Supreme Court clarified that the injuries need not be permanently grievous; even temporary damage qualifies under these sections.


Despite the devastating impact of acid attacks, regulations on the sale of acid remain lax, contributing to their easy accessibility. The Court criticised the government for not implementing stricter regulations, emphasising the urgent need to address this issue.


In 2002, Bangladesh implemented laws to restrict the import and sale of nitric acid, resulting in a significant decrease in acid attack incidents. India has taken steps to address the issue, including restricting acid sales to authorised vendors, recording buyer identities, and banning non-industrial or domestic use.


The Supreme Court, in Laxmi v Union of India, directed states to provide Rs. 3 lakh to acid attack victims for medical treatment and rehabilitation. Institutions must maintain registers of acid usage, appoint responsible persons for acid storage, and enforce safety measures.


Breaching court orders incurs a fine of Rs. 50,000, with enforcement under the Poisons Act, 1919. Model Rules will standardise acid storage, sales licensing, and handling procedures.

 
 

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