Battery is the intentional and direct application of any physical force to the person of another. It is the actual striking of another person, or touching him in a rude, angry, revengeful, or insolent manner.
A battery includes an assault which briefly stated is an overt act evidencing an immediate intention to commit a battery. It is mainly distinguishable from an assault in the fact that physical contact is necessary to accomplish it. It cannot mean merely an injury inflicted by an instrument held in the hand, but includes all cases where a party is struck by any missile thrown by another.
Purposely touching or applying force on other persons or things related to the person without his consent with the intention to harm the person is known as a battery. It is only considered when there is an actual physical contact without the consent of the person to harm the person. Generally, assault is followed by the battery which is the reason assault and battery are mostly used together.
The battery is often considered as trespass to a person, so it is divided into two types:
Criminal Battery is also known as the battery as a crime. Whenever there is an intention to kill a person or to hurt the person with an offensive physical contact is considered as the battery of crime. In a criminal battery, intention plays a major role as the action involves intention to kill a person.
Civil Battery is also known as the battery as a tort because it is a civil wrong. When a person has no intention to hurt someone but commits an act which hurts another person and the wrongdoer had an idea that the act will hurt another person is known as a civil battery. As the battery is considered as an intentional tort, but in the civil battery the ,intention to hurt someone is not present, so the victim can lodge a complaint against the wrongdoer under civil court.
Essentials of battery
Use of force
Such an act, without any lawful justification.
The intentions for both civil battery and criminal battery are different. Criminal intent to cause the injury is not necessary but the intention to cause the act which harms the person is required as it results in the battery. The intent of the battery is transferable as when a person tries to hit a person without his consent and he ends up hitting a different person, but the person is still liable for battery. So, the intention is the soul of battery and is very essential.
Use of force
Contact or use of force is necessary for committing battery. Harm through the force is not basic requirement but the use of force is basic requirement to conduct battery. It is not necessary that the contact must be physical or individual but the physical contact through indirect ways is also considered as physical contact. As the use of sticks or spitting on someone is also considered as a battery. Harming the people with changing the heat, odor, light is also considered as a battery.
The battery doesn’t need body-to-body contact as the battery can also be for future events which means if there is a delay between the accused actions and the injury of the complainant will still be a battery. For eg, A mixes something harmful in the food of B even after he knows the fact that B will eat that, A has committed a battery against B.
No Lawful Justification
In the event of proving battery, there mustn’t be any legal justification present to justify the actions of the accused. The complainant has to prove that the force used by the accused was unlawful and was not justifiable. For example, A and B were walking side by side, suddenly B started fighting with A, in this situation B is liable for battery but in the other situation when they were passing and there was an unintentional touch without harming anyone, in this situation, there wasn’t any battery. So, unintentional damages or damages by accidents are not actionable.
is the most common defense which is used in assault and battery cases. It means to protect yourself from unlawful force implied by other people. In this defense, it is proved that the defendant was safeguarding himself from the unlawful force of the complainant. But in this case, the defendant must prove that he did not provoke the other person and there was absolutely no other way to save himself.
For example, A started a fight with B, in his defense B attacked A with a stick and ran away, in this situation B is not liable for the battery as the attack was justified and was in self-defense.
Essentials of self-defense are:
The threat of unlawful for or damages.
Reasonable fear of harm.
No provocation by the accused.
No other way to save himself.
Defense of Others-
This defense is similar to self-defense, as in this defense the defendant is trying to save another individual, not himself. In this defense, there must be an honest and reasonable fear of harm to another person.
Defense of Property-
This defense is also very similar to self-defense, as in this defense the defendant is trying to protect his property, but the force used is only considered when there is an unlawful use of force against the defendant. The defense is only valid when there is an honest and reasonable fear of harm to the person’s property. So, in cases of disputes over personal property, the owner can use force to take his property back.
- Legal Remedies
- Restitutionary Remedy
- Equitable Remedy
Legal remedies are also known as damages, which is compensation given by the defendant to the plaintiff to compensate for the injuries, pain, or the sufferings given by the defendant. The compensation is directly proportional to the victim’s loss not to that of the defendant’s profits. The damages are considered as the tort claims and the compensation received by the plaintiff through the Court are known as pain and suffering damages.
These remedies try to restore the position of the plaintiff as close as possible to the state before all of it happened. This remedy includes:
Restitutionary Damages: These damages are similar to damages but in this, the compensation is calculated through the defendant’s gains, not the plaintiff’s loss.
Replevin: This helps the victim to recover his personal property that he lost because of the battery.
Ejectment: In this remedy, the court helps in ejecting the person who is staying unlawfully in the person’s property. This remedy is mostly used in cases of trespass.
Property Lien: In the situation when the defendant can not pay the damages, the judge can lien the property or sell the property as per the situation demands, to pay damages to the victim.
These are the remedies used when the monetary damages can not restore the initial stage of the victim. These remedies include:
Temporary Restraining Order: In the cases of assault and battery, when the defendant has physically harmed or harassed the victim, then the victim can obtain a restraining order which prevents the defendant from making any contact with the plaintiff or even coming close to the plaintiff.
Temporary or Permanent Injunction: These injunctions can either prohibit unlawful activities initiated by the defendant or it can also take affirmative steps to control the defendant.
Garratt vs. Dailey-
Facts: In this case, the defendant was 5 year boy who visited the plaintiff’s home. When the plaintiff was about to sit on a chair, the defendant moved the chair, as a result, the plaintiff fell down and had his hip broken. In response to this, the plaintiff sued the defendant for battery. The plaintiff’s sister contended that the defendant had intentionally moved the chair. However, the plaintiff contended that he moved the chair with the intention to replace it and prevent the fall.
Court’s observation: The court decided in favour of the defendant by believing in the testimony given by the plaintiff. And concluded that the boy did not possess any unlawful or willful purpose to cause harm to the defendant. Although, the court dismissed the action but the court said that the loss of $11,000 was suffered by the plaintiff.
Rationale: The absence of the intention does not amount to the offence of battery under tort. Thus, tortious liability does arise in this case.
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