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Legopedia

Section 100 of Indian Penal Code

right of Private Defence

Section 100 comes under Chapter IV of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 which related to ‘General Exceptions’. The chapter contains thirty sections from Section 76-106. These General Exceptions runs throughout the penal code and apply for each and every case. Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code relates to “When the right to private defence of the body extends to causing death.”

It reads as follows-

When the right of private defence of the body extends to causing death.—The right of private defence of the body extends, under the restrictions mentioned in the last preceding section, 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:—

Firstly — 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.[1]

Nature of the Right

Section 100 is an extension of section 96 which talks about 'things done in private defence' and says that nothing is an offence done in the exercise of private defence. It is the duty of every person to protect himself, and S.100 flows from such duty. This type of right is usually protected in every country.
The right to protect oneself is given by law to every person primarily to protect life or property. The state cannot reach every place to protect the people of the nation. Therefore, the people of India are given the right to protect themselves against any harm.

Conditions under Section 100

 Although Section 100 IPC provides a right to private defence of body extending to causing death, it enumerates six conditions in which this right may be exercised.
  1. An assault that may reasonably cause the apprehension death of the person.
  2. An assault that may reasonably cause the apprehension of grievous hurt to that person.
  3. An assault to commit rape on that person.
  4. An assault to commit the lustful act.
  5.  An assault to commit kidnapping or abduction.
  6. An assault to confine a person with mala fide intention.

No other ground can be excused under section100, and the person who commits the death of another person in the exercise of his right to private defence would be liable of Culpable Homicide.

One of the most important things to be noted here is that the right to self-defence is only available to a person who is suddenly and immediately confronted with danger, which is not his own creation. A person retailing for past injuries would not be covered under section100, and his cases would not be covered under general defences. The necessity must be apparent or real.[2]

Points to be kept in mind before exercising Right under Section 100

Before taking the life of a person, four points need to be kept in mind-

  1. The encounter should not be the result of the accused. He must be free of fault.
  2. Their person should have no reasonable mode to escape.
  3. There should be a presence of impending peril to life or of great bodily harm, either real or apparent as to create an honest belief of existing necessity.
  4. There should be a necessity to take the life of the person.

The court laid down that there are a number of factors to be considered while classifying a case under section 100 of IPC. Injuries sustained by the accused, imminent danger, circumstances in which injuries are caused, etc. should be taken into account.[3]

Law Commission Report, 2013

The Justice Verma Committee through the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013 added the seventh clause under Section 100 which reads as follows-

“If there is an act of throwing or administering acid or an attempt to throw or administer acid that causes a reasonable apprehension in the mind of the accused that grievous hurt will be caused, then the right of Private Defence to the extent of causing death will be available.”[4]

As there was no law for the acid attack victims and a large number of cases were getting registered under other provisions of the Penal Code like hurt, grievous hurt, attempt to murder, etc., the committee suggested the addition of a clause to section100 IPC.

Conclusion

Causing the death of a person while exercising the right to private defence is one of the most important rights. The right to life of the person is involved; therefore, exercising this right becomes one of the greatest tasks that need to be scrutinized correctly. Many conditions need to be satisfied with the person exercising his right. He needs to satisfy the court fully that the right he exercised was all he had at the circumstance in which he so exercised his right.

[1] Section 100, Indian Penal Code, 1860.

[2] Balbir Singh v. the State of Punjab (1959) CrLJ 1905.

[3] James Martin v. State of Kerala (2004) 2 SCC 203.

[4] Section 100(7) Indian Penal Code, 1860.

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