RIGHT OF PRIVATE DEFENCE UNDER IPC

INTRODUCTION: The first rule of criminal law is self-help. Every individual in India has the right to private body and property defence under the Indian penal law. The law relating to the right of private defence of person and property is found in sections 96 to 106. These sections offer a man the authority to use necessary force against an adversary or wrongdoer for the purpose of protecting one’s own body and property, as well as another body and property, and he is not accountable in law for his actions when immediate assistance from the state machinery is not readily available.

The state’s principal responsibility is to protect a citizen’s life and property, yet the truth is that the state cannot monitor every citizen’s activity. When a person’s life or property is at risk, the state may be unable to assist them instantly. The right to private defence is provided by the Indian penal code.

For the preservation of one’s life, liberty, and property, the right to private defence is unavoidable. It is a man’s natural right. However, the type and amount of force used are strictly limited by law. The right of private defence refers to the use of force to protect one’s property and person.

DEFINITIONS AND TYPES OF PRIVATE DEFENCE: The term “private defence” is not defined in the Indian Penal Code, which was enacted in 1860. As a result, it has been the judiciary’s responsibility to develop a suitable structure for exercising the right. In India, the right to private defence refers to the ability to defend one’s or another’s person or property against an act committed by another. that would have been a crime if the right of private defence had not been invoked. As a result, this right creates a legal exception to criminal culpability. Some aspects of the right of private defence under the IPC include the fact that no right of self-defence can exist against an unarmed and non-offending individual, that the right is only available against the aggressor, and that it is only available to those who are in imminent danger of person or property and when no state assistance is available. The right to private defence is a natural right that arises out of specific circumstances rather than being a luxury.

The most crucial premise, however, is that the right to private defence necessitates the use of force that is necessary and appropriate in the circumstances. However, this cannot be assessed on golden scales when a person’s mental state is disrupted. Whether there is a case of necessity must be determined from the perspective of the accused, and his behaviour must be judged in light of the circumstances as they appear on the day in question. There are also specific limitations for when the right cannot be legitimately exercised, and the article precisely defines the circumstances in which the right can extend to the killing of the attacker.

The accused’s reasonable apprehension can only be justified if he or she had a genuine fear of harm, and that fear was properly justified by the aggressor’s actions and the surrounding circumstances. This introduces a smidgeon of an objective criterion for determining “reasonability.” The presence of imminent threat is thus a necessary condition for legal self-defence. As a result, there must be a reasonable belief that the threat is imminent and that force is required to counteract it.

NATURE OF THE RIGHT: It is man’s primary responsibility to assist himself. Every free country’s citizens must be taught the right to self-defence. Every legal system recognizes the right, and its scope varies in direct proportion to the state’s ability to defend individuals’ lives and property. The state’s first responsibility is to safeguard citizens’ lives and property, yet no state, no matter how wealthy, can afford to assign a police officer to track down every criminal in the country.

PRIVATE DEFENCE UNDER IPC: Sections 96 to 106 of the Indian Penal Code describe a citizen’s right to private defence, which allows him to practically take the law into his own hands to defend his own body and property, as well as that of others.

Nothing done in the exercise of the right to private defence is an offence, according to Section 96 of the Criminal Code.

In exchange, the right to private defence cannot be considered a crime. The right to self-defence under Section 96 is not unlimited; it is limited by Section 99, which states that the right does not extend to inflicting greater injury than is required for self-defence.

The right to a private defence will relieve a person of all culpability even if he causes the death of another person in the instances listed below, i.e.
If the assailant was the one who died, and
If the deceased’s crime, which resulted in the exercise of the right to the private body and property defence, fits into one of the six or four categories mentioned in Sections 100 and 103 of the penal code.

Section 97 deals with the right to private bodily and property defence: – Every person has the right to protect himself or herself, subject to the limitations set forth in Section 99.

First, his own and others’ bodies against any act affecting the human body; second, his own and others’ property, whether mobile or immovable, against any act affecting the property of others that is theft, robbery, mischief, or criminal trespass, or an attempt to commit theft, robbery, mischief, or criminal trespass.

Section 99 states that if an act is done that does not reasonably induce the fear of death or grave bodily damage, there is no right of private defence done, by a public worker acting in good faith under the colour of his authority, even if such act is not absolutely justifiable by law.

Section 100 defines whether a person’s right to private bodily defence extends to causing death.
Four requirements must be completed in order to activate the provisions of Section 100 of the I.P.C.:
1.) the person exercising the right of private defence must be without fault in bringing about the encounter,
2.) there must be a serious risk of death or serious bodily damage,
3.) there must be no safe or reasonable mode of retreat, and
4.) there had to be a compelling reason for taking a life.

When such a right extends to causing any harm other than death, Section 101 specifies:
If the offence is not one of those listed in the preceding section, the right to private bodily defence does not extend to the voluntary infliction of death on the assailant, however, it does extend to the willful infliction of any injury on the assailant other than death, subject to the limitations set forth in Section 99.

Section 102 is crucial since it governs the start and continuation of the right to private bodily defence: The right to private body defence begins when a reasonable apprehension of bodily harm emerges from an attempt or threat to conduct the offence, even if the offence has not yet been committed, and continues as long as such apprehension of bodily harm exists. The fear of risk must be reasonable, not irrational. For example, even if armed with a lethal weapon and the ability to kill, one cannot shoot an enemy from a considerable distance. This is due to the fact that he has not assaulted you and hence there is no real fear of attack. To put it another way, there is no attack, hence there is no right of private defence. Furthermore, the threat must be present and immediate.

When the right of private property defence extends to inflicting death, it is defined in Section 103:– The right of private property defence extends, subject to the limitations set forth in section 99 refers to the voluntary infliction of death or other sufferings on the wrongdoer if the offence, the act of which triggers the exercise of the right, is one of the following:
Robbery, By night, they are breaking into people’s homes. Fire damage to any house, tent, or vessel that is utilised as a human home or a place for the care of goods, Theft, mischief, or house-trespass in conditions that reasonably create anxiety that death or serious bodily harm may result if such right of private defence is not used.

Section 104 tells us if the offence that causes the exercise of the right of private defence is theft, mischief, or criminal trespass, not of any of the descriptions enumerated in the preceding section, that right does not extend to the voluntary causing of death but does extend to causing any harm other than death.

Section 105 specifies when the right of private property defence begins and continues: – When reasonable anticipation of harm to the property arises, the right to private property defence kicks in. The right to private property defence against theft lasts until the criminal has fled with the property, or the property has been recovered, or the perpetrator has secured the assistance of the public authorities. The right of private property defence against robbery exists as long as the criminal causes or attempts to cause death, bodily harm, or wrongful restraint of any person, or as long as the risk of instant death, bodily harm, or personal retaliation exists.

When there is a risk of injury to an innocent person, Section 106 pertains to the right of private defence against a lethal assault:– If the defender is in such a position that he cannot effectively exercise his right of private defence against an assault that reasonably causes the apprehension of death without risk of harm to an innocent person, his right of private defence extends to.

ENDNOTES: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/readersblog/lawpedia/right-of-private-defence-33052/

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