General Exceptions under IPC: Section 76-106
The criminal law covers various punishments which vary from case to case but it is not always necessary that the person gets punished for a crime which he/she had committed. The IPC recognises defence in chapter 4 of the Indian penal code under General exceptions from section 76- section 106 which covers these defences for the presumption that a person is not liable for the committed offence. These defences depend upon the circumstances prevailing at that point of time, mens rea of person and reason of actions that accused.
Every offence is not absolute, they have certain exceptions. When IPC was drafted, it was assumed that there were no exceptions in criminal cases which was a major loophole. So a separate chapter 4 was introduced by the maker of the IPC.
In short, the main objective of Chapter IV includes:
• Exceptional circumstances in which an individual can escape his or her liability.
• Making Code construction simpler by removing the repetition of criminal law exceptions.
Burden of proof:
A) A Prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt against the accused.
B) Before the enforcement of the Indian Evidence Act 1882, the prosecution had to prove that the case does not fall under any exception, but section 105 of Evidence act shifted the burden on the claimant.
C) But in exceptions, as per section 105 of evidence Act 1882, a claimant has to prove the existence of general exception in crimes.
The general exceptions are divided into two categories:
A) Excusable Acts
B) Judicially Justifiable Acts
An Excusable Act is the one in which the harm should be caused by a person yet that person should be excused because he cannot be blamed for the act.
For example, if a person of unsound mind or insane commits a crime, he can’t be held responsible for that because he was not having men rea. Same goes for involuntary intoxication, insanity, infancy or honest mistake of fact.
1) Section76: Mistake of Facts: Under Section 76: Act done by a person bound by or by mistake of fact believing, himself to be bound by law is included. Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is or by reason of a mistake of fact, not done by a mistake of law in good faith believes himself, to be, bound by law to do such act. It is derived from the legal maxim “ignorantia facti doth excusat, ignorantia juris non excusat”.
If a soldier firing on a mob by the order of his officer in conformity or through command of the law then he will not be liable for his act.
2) Under Section 79: Act done by a person justified or by a mistake of facts believing, himself justified, by law is included. Nothing is an offence which is done by any person who is justified by in the court of law or who by reason of mistake of fact and not mistake of law in good faith, believes himself to be justified by law, in doing that particular act.
Case law for Section 79, In Kiran Bedi vs state of inquiry, petitioner refused to deposed to the beginning of the inquiry as she believed that she could depose only at the end of an inquiry.
3) Accident under section 80: An accident committed while doing a lawful act is not an offence which is done by accident or misfortune, without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means and with proper care and caution.
Case law for section 80:
King Emperor vs Timmappa, a division bench held that shooting with an unlicensed gun does not debar an accused from claiming defence of his or her crime under Section 81 of IPC.
4) Section 82 and 83: Infancy
A) Section 82: It includes an act of a child below seven years of age is not an offence. Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age.
B) Section 83: It includes an act of a child above seven and below twelve of age who is immature. Nothing is an offence which is done by a child above seven years of age and under twelve, who has not yet attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge the nature and repercussions of his conduct during that occasion when crime had performed.
In Krishna Bhagwan Vs State of Bihar, Patna High Court upheld that if a child who is accused of an offence during the trial, has attained the age of seven years can be convicted if he has the understanding and the knowledge of the offence committed by him.
5) Insanity – Section 84
Act of a person of unsound mind is not is an offence which is done by a person who at that time is going to perform it, by reason of unsoundness of mind and is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or against the law.
Case law of section 84:
In Ashiruddin Ahmed vs. State, the accused Ashiruddin was ordered by someone in paradise to sacrifice his own son who was of 4 years of age. Next morning he took his son to a Mosque and killed him and then went straight to his uncle, but finding a chowkidar, took the uncle nearby a tank and told him the story. Supreme court said that accused can claim a defence because he knew the nature of act but did not know what was wrong.
6) Intoxication: Section 85 and 86
A) Section 85: Act of a person incapable of judgment by reason of intoxication which is caused against his will is not an offence which is done by a person who at the time of doing it, is, by reason of intoxication, incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that person is doing what is either wrong, or contrary to law, provided that the thing which intoxicated that person was administered involuntarily without that person’s will or knowledge.
B) Section 86: Offence requiring a particular intention or knowledge committed by one who is intoxicated. This applies to cases where an act done is not an offence unless done with a particular knowledge or intention, a person who does the act in state of intoxication, shall be liable to be dealt with as if he had the same knowledge as he would have had if he had not been intoxicated, unless the thing which intoxicated hin was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will but if it will be intentionally then the person is not liable to take this defence.
Case law for section 86:
In Babu Sadashiv Jadhav case,the accused was drunk and fought with the wife. He poured kerosene and set her on fire and started extinguishing the fire. The court held that he intended to cause bodily injury which was likely to cause death under section 299 (sentenced her under section 304, Part I of code).
A justified act is one which would have been wrongful under normal condition but circumstances under which the act was committed makes it acceptable.
1) Section 77 and 78:
• Section77: Act of the judge when acting judicially then there is nothing an offence which is done by a judge when acting judicially in the exercise of any power which is in good faith, he believes to be and given to him by law.
• Example: Giving Capital Punishment to Ajmal Kasab was done under the judicial powers of judges which is given to him by law.
B) Section 78: Act done pursuant to the Judgement or order of the court is not an offence, which is done in pursuance of, or which is warranted by the judgment or order of, a court of justice, if done whilst such judgment or order remains in force, is an offence and the court may have no jurisdiction to pass such judgment or order, provided the person doing the act in good faith believes that the court had such jurisdiction.
2) Necessity: Section 81
Act likely to cause harm, but done without criminal intentions, and to prevent other harm is not an offence merely by reason of its being done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause harm if it is done without any criminal intention to cause harm, and in good faith for the purpose of preventing or avoiding other harm to person or property.
Case law for section 81:
In Bishambher Vs Roomal, 1950, the complainant Bishambhara had molested a girl Nathia. Khacheru, Mansukh, and Nathu were accused related to father of the girl. The Chamars were agitated and determined to punish Bhishambher. Rumal Singh, Fateh Singh, and Balwant Singh intervened and tried to bring a settlement. They collected a panchayat and the complainant’s written and given shoe beating to them. It was found by the court that accused had intervened in good faith but the panchayat was having no authority to take such a step against him.
3) Consent under Section 87-89 and Section 92:
• Section 87: Act not intended and not known to be likely to cause death or grievous hurt, done by consent.It is not an offence which is not intended to cause death, or grievous hurt, and which is not known by the person who has committed and which is likely to cause death or grievous hurt, is an offence by reason of any harm which it may cause, or to be intended by the doer to cause, to any person, above 18 years of age, who has given consent, whether express or implied, to suffer that harm; or by reason of any harm which it may be known by the person to be likely to cause to any harm who has consented the risk.
Case law: Poonai Fattemah vs Emperor.
• Section 88: Act not intended to cause death, done by consent in good faith for person’s benefit.
Case law: RP Dhanda Vs Bhurelal, the operation performed by a doctor for an eye with the consent of the patient and the operation resulted in the loss of eyesight. The doctor has protected under this section as he acted in good faith.
• Section 89: Act done in good faith for the benefit of child or insane person by consent of the guardian is not an offence and a person can take this defence.
• Section 90: Consent known to be given under fear or misconception is not a consent under this section. Consent of an insane person is not a valid consent. Consent given in intoxication or given in unsoundness of mind is not a valid consent.
Case law: Jakir Ali vs State of Assam.
• Section 92: Act done in good faith for the benefit of a person in a good faith.Nothing is an offence by reason of any harm which may causes to a person for whose benefit is done in good faith.
4) Communication under section 93:
Communication made in good faith. Any communication made in good faith is not an offence by reason of any harm to the person to whom it is made if it is made for the benefit of that person.
5) Duress under Section 94:
Act to which a person is compelled by threats. Except murder, and offences against the state punishable with death, nothing is an offence which done by a person compelled to do it under threats, which, at the time of doing it, reasonably cause the apprehension that instant death to that person will otherwise be the consequence, provided the person doing the act did not of his own accord, or from reasonable apprehension of harm to himself short of instant death, place himself in the situation by which he became subject to such constraint.
6) Trifles under Section 95:
Act causing slight harm is included under this section. It is not an offence if by reason that it causes, or that it is intended to cause, or that it is known to be likely to cause, any harm if that harm is so slight that no person of ordinary sense and temper would complain of such harm.
7) Private Defence under section 96-106:
a) Section 96: Things done in private defence. Nothing is an offence in which person harms another person in the exercise of another person.
b) Section 97: Right of private defence of body and property.
Every person has right to private defence with some restrictions:
1) Protecting his or her body or protecting others body against any offence in which there is a danger to life.
2) Protecting his or her personal property and another’s property of movable and immovable nature against theft, robbery mischief or trespass.
Case law: Akonti Bara vs State of Assam, the Gauhati high court held that exercising the right of private defence of property
the act of throwing out a trespasser right to throw away the material object also with which the trespass has been committed.
c) Section 98: Right of private defence against the act of a person of unsound mind.
d) Section 99: Acts against which there is no right of private defence.
➢ There is no right of private defence against the act which does not reasonably cause the apprehension of death or of grievous hurt , if done.
➢ Attempted to be done by a public servant acting in good faith under colour of his office, though that act may not be strictly justifiable by law.
➢ There is no right of private defence in cases where there is time to have recourse to the protection of public authorities.
➢ The harm caused should be proportional to that if imminent danger or attack.
Case law: Puran Singh Vs State of Punjab
e) Section 100: When the right of private defence of the body extends to causing injury.
1) Assault causing reasonable apprehension of death.
2) Reasonable apprehension of grievous hurt
3) Committing rape
4) Unnatural lust
5) Kidnapping or abducting
6) Wrongfully confining a person in which a person is not been able to contact public authority.
7) Act of throwing or attempting to throw acid.
f) Rights extending to causing any harm other than death: Section 101:
If the offence be not of any If the offence be not of any of the descriptions enumerated in the last preceding section, the right of private defence of the body does not extend to the voluntarily causing of death, but does extends under the restrictions mentioned in section 99.
g) Commencement and continuance the right if private defence of the body: Section 102
The right of private defence of the body commences as soon as a reasonable apprehension of danger to the body arises from an attempt or a threat to commit the offence though the offence may not have been committed if it continues as long as such apprehension of danger to the body continues.
h) Section 103: When right if private defence of the property extends to causing death:
▪ House breaking in night
▪ Mischief by fire committed on any building
▪ Theft, house trespass or mischief under such circumstances as may reasonably cause apprehension that death or grievous hurt will be consequences if right of private defence is not performed.
i) Section 104: When such rights extend to causing harm other than hurt:
If the offence, the committing or the attempting to commit which occasions the exercise of the right of private defence, be theft, mischief, or criminal trespass, not of any of the descriptions enumerated in the last preceding section, that right does not extend to the voluntary causing of death, but does extend, subject to the restrictions mentioned in section 99, to the voluntary causing to the wrong-doer of any harm other than death.
j) Section 105: Commencement and continuous of the right of private defence of property:
The right of private defence of the property commences when:
➢ A reasonable apprehension of the commencement of the danger to the property. The right of private defences of the property against theft continues until the offender has affected his retreat with the property.
➢ Either the assistance of the public authority is obtained.
➢ Or, the property has been recovered.
➢ The right of the private defence of the property against robbery continues as long as the offender causes or attempt to cause to any person death or hurt.
➢ As long as the fear of instant death or instant hurt or instant personal restrain continues.
➢ The right of private defence of the property against criminal trespass or mischief continues.
k) Section 106: Right of private defence against deadly assault when there is a risk of harm to innocent person:
If the exercise of exercise of private defence against an assault , a person causes apprehension of death, which defender has no choice but harming an innocent person his right will extend to that running of risk.
So these are the general exceptions Section 76 to 106 are available for the accused to escape liability or save themselves from the offence committed. It may extend to harm the innocent person or death of that person depending upon the circumstances. These exceptions are provided so as to represent oneself to the court of law.
- https://blog.ipleaders.in/general-exception-under-ipc/amp/ https://www.advocatekhoj.com/library/bareacts/indianpenalcode/index.php?Title=Indian%20Penal%20Code,%201860
Written by: Vanshika Jaiswal