INTRODUCTION TO IPC 323
The Indian Penal Code covers the offence of hurt under Chapter XVI, i.e., “Offences Affecting Life.” Section 323 punishes voluntary causing of hurt under the same.
The provision laid under Section 319 reads as: “Whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.”
The important points for establishing an offence of under Section 319 are:
- Firstly, bodily pain caused should be physical. In other words, such pain should not be emotional or mental.
- Secondly, infirmity includes temporary mental impairment, hysteria, or terror.
- Thirdly, communicating diseases is also a cause of ‘hurt.’
The courts have taken a mixed approach to the third point. For example, in the case of R v. Clarence, there was a transfer of venereal disease from the husband to wife. The husband resisted from informing his wife in spite of knowing about his condition. Because if she had come to see, she would not have agreed for sexual intercourse. Contrarily, the court held that the husband was not guilty of causing ‘hurt.’
It is differentiated from the offence of ‘Grievous-Hurt’. It is of a graver intensity as compared to ‘hurt’ and thus, lesser punishment is applicable in case of hurt.
VOLUNTARILY CAUSING HURT
A small case under Section 319 is not punishable. Thus, IPC demarcates a separate offence for hurting voluntarily or intentionally. Section 321 states: “Whoever does any act to thereby cause 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.”
In Hanif Usmanbhai Kalva v. State of Gujarat, the court has discussed the essential ingredients which constitute the offence under section 323 IPC. These areas under:
- “The accused caused hurt to another person;
- He caused such hurt voluntarily;
- S. 334 does not protect his act.”
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Furthermore, these provisions under Section 321 is subject to Section 334 of the Indian Penal Code. Anyone who acts unintentionally or without any knowledge and causes hurt to a person who provoked him would have a reduced punishment as a result of a lack of intention.
However, it is necessary here that the provocation must be grave and sudden.
A person causing hurt voluntarily is punishable with an imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both under Section 323 IPC.
However, this punishment is subject to Section 334 which provides for imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both in case of doing the act under grave and sudden provocation.
Other Forms Of Voluntarily Causing Hurt
Voluntarily Causing of Hurt by Dangerous Weapons or Means
Section 324 specifically defines ‘voluntarily causing of hurt by dangerous weapons or means’ as an offence. The special circumstances of voluntarily causing hurt laid down under Section 324 are by means of:
- an instrument for shooting, stabbing or cutting, or
- an instrument which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, or
- fire or any heated substance, or by means of any poison or any corrosive substance, or
- explosive substance, or
- the substance which is harmful to the human body to inhale, to swallow, to receive into the blood, or
- any animal.
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Likewise, imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both, is enforceable in case of voluntary hurt by dangerous means. And it is also subject of Section 334.
Voluntary Hurt to Extort Property, Or To Constrain To An Illegal Act –
Voluntarily hurting a person to extort any property or valuable security from him or any person interested in him or constraining to do anything illegal is separately punishable with an imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and also relevant fine.
Causing Hurt by Means of Poison to Commit an Offence –
Section 328 of the IPC says that whoever administers to or causes to be taken by any person any poison or any stupefying, intoxicating or unwholesome drug, or other things with intent to cause hurt to such person, or with intent to commit or to facilitate the commission of an offence or knowing it to be likely that he will thereby cause hurt is an offender.
Furthermore, such an offence would be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Voluntary Hurt to Extort Confession –
Voluntarily hurting a person so as to extort any confession or information from either the sufferer or anyone interested, which may lead to the detection of an offence or misconduct and vice versa, is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and also makes a person liable to fine.
Illustration: Torturing a person in order to induce him to point out where certain stolen property is deposited makes a person guilty of an offence under Section 332.
Voluntary Hurt by Endangering Life in Public –
Whoever hurts any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both.
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Thus, intentional or voluntarily hurting anyone is a punishable offence. Section 323 of the IPC punishes it accordingly. In addition to this, several separate offences are also formed in furtherance of a voluntary act.
 (1889) 22 QB 23.
 Section 322, Indian Penal Code 1860.
 Criminal Misc. Application No. 3120 of 2014.
 Supra note 2, Section 324.
 Ibid, S. 327.
 Ibid, S. 328.
 Ibid, S. 332.
 Ibid, S. 337.