Voluntary Causing Hurt : Provision and Punishment

With all the progress we have made as a nation, there is also a big number of crimes happening around us in recent days. And women and children are becoming more part to such kind of crimes, and hence it is essential to be aware of the offenses or wrong which are known as voluntarily causing hurt to someone or anyone and the punishment prescribed for it in the  Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Section 323 of IPC

Section 323 is an essential part mentioned under the chapter 16th of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, titled “Offenses related to the Affecting Human Body.” Section 323 basically deals with the punishment clause for voluntary causing hurt. But before going further first, we need to understand the meaning of some technical terms, like “Hurt (defined under section 319)”, “Grievous Hurt (defined under section 320)”,  “Voluntary causing Hurt (defined under section 321)” and “Voluntary causing Grievous Hurt (which is defined under section 322)”. So basically the present article only has a relation with Section 323 read with section 321, which defines what actually “voluntary causing Hurt” mean. Though we have to discuss only the provision related to section 323, we also need to understand under this, that there is segregation of some technical terms which mentioned above and it is essential to discuss under this.

“Hurt (which is defined under section 319) ” meaning simply that any person who causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any other person and if the same does happen where knowledge plays an essential role is to be understood within the meaning of “Voluntary causing Hurt (under section 321)”

“Grievous Hurt (which is defined under section 320)” is to be understood as an extended form of Hurt. Under this, there are some different kind of hurt only, which is designated as “grievous” in nature. They are,


Permanent privation of the sight of any of the Eye or Ear or Permanent disfigured the face or head,

Privation of any member or joint or permanent impairing of the powers of any joint,

Fracture or Dislocation of bone or tooth

or any other type of Hurt which may endanger life or which the sufferer causes severely bodily pain up to 20 days or more or may not be able to follow their ordinary pursuits.

So basically, there are eight important types of hurt which are grievous in nature and on another aspect where knowledge gets involves in any of the hurt which is grievous in nature may amount to be “voluntary causing Grievous Hurt (under section 322).

Section 323 Of Indian Penal Code 

The definition of the provision “voluntary causing hurt” defined under section 321 and their punishment clause in section 323 of the penal code 1862.  Section 321 states that if a person with pure intention is causing Hurt to any other person. And there exists a piece of knowledge that their action may likely cause hurt to another is “Voluntary Causing Hurt.”

Section 323 defines the punishment for the wrong defines under section 321, states that whoever does the same shall be punished with the 1-year imprisonment or fine of 1000 rs.  or both. Also, if a person without any intention has a knowledge that particular action may likely to cause hurt or gives to another person a “voluntary causing hurt” on the grave and sudden provocation (defined under section 334), then, he or she shall be not prosecuted under section 323, there should be applied some facts for exemption under section 323, as follows:-

  1. Firstly, there was no sudden or grave provocation exist,
  2. Secondly, the offender had the intention of causing hurt;
  3. Thirdly, the offender had clear knowledge that his conduct will cause hurt to the other people
  4. Lastly, the offender caused any bodily hurt.

So if any of the facts may going to apply, the accused punishment shifted from section 323 to section 334, and under this, the accused shall be punished with the imprisonment for a maximum of 1 month or a fine which exceed up to 500 or with both.

The offense under section 323 of the Indian Penal Code, 1862 is Non- cognizable, Bailable and Triable by any Magistrate Also, Compounded by the person to whom the hurt is caused.

Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons

 Section 324 of the Indian Penal Code further clarifies the repercussions of “voluntarily causing hurt using any dangerous weapon or instruments” such as shooting, stabbing, or cutting or any other tool which is likely to cause death and the accused has the knowledge of the same, are much severe. Some examples- fire, heated substance, poison, an explosive substance, or any substance which might be dangerous to the human body in the form of consumption.

Punishment– up to 3 years or fine or Both

Voluntarily causing hurt to extort property or to do an illegal act forcefully 

Section 327 of the Indian Penal Code, deals with the offense of “voluntarily causing hurt with the motive or intention to extort the property from the sufferer or any other person” interested in the victim. This may also include constraining the sufferer or any other person interested in the victim to make them do act illegally directly has relation to the commission of the offense.  The said offense is categorized under the meaning of “grave” in nature.

Punishment: – up to 10 years only or with the fine.

Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from their duty

Section 332 of the India Penal Code defines that Any person, who deliberately causes hurt to any public servant in discharge of his duty or causing hurt with the intention of deterring him from discharging his duty is not acceptable by law and amount to some punishment.

Punishment: – up to 3 years only or with the fine.

Voluntarily causing hurt in committing robbery

Robbery (defined under section 390 of the penal code) is considered as a serious crime, and that is why Section 394 of the Indian Penal Code deals with such kind of cases where the voluntary hurt was caused during the conduction (include attempt also) of the crime of robbery. The offender or any person (involvement is necessary, directly or indirectly) jointly responsible for such offense of robbery,

Punishment: – Lifetime Imprisonment or Rigorous Imprisonment up to 10 years, sometimes fine may be included along with the punishment.

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by Ketan Srivastava

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