WHAT IS HURT?

The word “hurt” generally means causing of pain or damage or injury by one person to another person. The word “hurt” generally includes both physical and mental pain. However, in the  legal sense the word “hurt” does not include mental pain.

The offence of hurt is included in the Indian Penal Code, 1860 in the Chapter XVI titled as “Offences Affecting The Human Body”.

Chapter XVI containing Sections 319 to 338 ( including Sections 326A and 326B) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 deals with the offence of hurt. The offence of hurt under Indian Penal Code, 1860 is classified into Hurt (Simple hurt) and Grievous Hurt. Under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 section 319, 321 and 323 deals with simple hurt. Section 319 defines simple hurt, section 321 provides for voluntarily causing hurt and section 323 prescribes punishment for voluntarily causing hurt.

Section 319 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 defines hurt as, “Whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.”

Ingredients

It is evident from the above definition that in order to constitute offence of  hurt under section 319, it is necessary to cause:

  • Bodily pain,
  • Disease, or        
  • Infirmity to another

Bodily pain

The expression “bodily pain” includes the physical pain caused to any external part of body. It only includes physical pain and does not deal with emotional or mental pain. Thus, a person cannot be charged with the offence of hurt if he causes some other person to suffer from mental pain.

The direct physical contact is not essential in order to constitute hurt under section 319 . Thus, the physical contact is not essential for hurt, however, bodily pain is necessary to constitute offence of hurt. It means that if an act does not include any physical contact but results in the causing of bodily pain, it constitutes offence of hurt.

Disease

Only bodily pain does not comes within the ambit of offence of hurt . Even the transmission of a particular disease from one person to another is included in the ambit of offence of  hurt . The term “disease” refers to any disease that is transmitted from one individual to another by way of touch which causes hurt.

However, there is some ambiguity with respect to the transmission of sexual disease from one person to another.

In case of  R v. Clarence, the husband had transferred sexual disease to his wife. The Court in this case does not held husband guilty of causing hurt to his wife even though he had infected his wife with gonorrhoea in spite of knowing his condition and being aware that she would not have had sexual intercourse with him had she known his condition.

In Raka v. Emperor, the accused was a prostitute and she inflicted syphilis to her customers. It was held that accused, the prostitute was liable under Section 269 of Indian Penal Code, 1860  for negligently spreading disease and not for inflicting hurt under Section 319 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

Infirmity to another

Infirmity means the inability of an organ to perform its normal function which may either be temporary or permanent. A state of temporary impairment or hysteria or terror would constitute infirmity.

In case of Jashanmal Jhamatmal v. Brahmanand Sarupananda, the landlord was accused for causing hurt to tenant’s wife. The landlord, screamed violently in the middle of the night and waved a pistol in front of the tenant’s wife in order to frighten her . Consequently, the tenant’s wife was shocked and as a result of shock she collapsed and she was seriously ill for considerable time. It was held that this was within the meaning of temporary impairment or hysteria and hence the accused had caused infirmity and in turn, hurt.

VOLUNTARILY CAUSING HURT

According to Section 321 of the Indian Penal Code, “Whoever does any act with the intention of thereby causing 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.”

INTENTION OR KNOWLEDGE

In order to constitute offence of hurt under Indian penal code, 1860 there must be knowledge or intention of causing hurt to an individual.

In case of  Dhani Ram v. Emperor, the court held that where there is no intention to cause death or knowledge that death is likely to be caused from the harm inflicted, and the death is caused, the accused would be guilty of hurt only if the injury caused was not serious.

In case of Marana Goundan v. R,  the accused demanded money from the deceased which the deceased owed him. The deceased promised to pay later. The accused then kicked him on the abdomen. As a result, the deceased collapsed and died. The accused was held guilty of causing hurt as he did not intend or knew that kicking on the abdomen was likely to endanger life.

In case of  Naga Sheve po v. R, the accused struck a man one blow on the head with a bamboo yoke and the injured man died afterwards in a hospital. He was held guilty of an offence of causing hurt under Section 319 because there was no intention to cause death and the blow in itself was not of such a nature as was likely to cause death.

In case of Arjuna Sahu v. State, it was observed that a push on the neck is likely to cause some bodily pain within the meaning of Section 319 though in some cases it may be so slight.

PUNISHMENT FOR CAUSING HURT

Section 323 of the Penal Code provides punishment for voluntarily causing hurt. It states that whoever voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with 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.

CONCLUSION

Hurt in general connotation means to inflict pain on someone. However, if this broad connotation of the term “hurt’ is adopted in legal sense, then the courts will be overloaded with thousands of cases on a daily basis. Thus, in order to avoid this, the term “hurt” has been defined under section 319 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 . Section 319 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 states that hurt is caused when there is bodily pain, transfer of a disease or infirmity.

REFERENCES

 

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