WHAT IS GRIEVOUS HURT ?

The Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides for the offence of  hurt in the Chapter XVI. On the basis of seriousness, the offence of hurt is divided into hurt (simple hurt) and grievous hurt. Hurt means to cause pain to someone. Grievous hurts is the more aggravated form of hurt and is more serious in nature. Thus, the grave infliction of pain would constitute the offence of grievous hurt.

Section 320 of the Indian Penal Code,1860 defines grievous hurt by providing eight types of hurt that would constitute grievous hurt.

According to section 320 of Indian Penal Code, following kinds of hurt only are designated as “grievous”:—

(First) — Emasculation.

(Secondly) —Permanent privation of the sight of either eye.

(Thirdly) — Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear.

(Fourthly) —Privation of any member or joint.

(Fifthly) — Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint.

(Sixthly) — Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.

(Seventhly) —Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth.

(Eighthly) —Any hurt which endangers life or which causes the sufferer to be during the space of twenty days in severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits.

  • Emasculation: It means depriving a man of his masculine vigour or depriving him of his virility. This clause is only applicable to males victims and not to female victims. This injury can be caused by castration, by cutting the male organ or by injuring a man’s scrotum or  testis or the spinal cord at the level of 2nd to 4th lumbar vertebrae which results in impotence. This type of injury not only causes emasculation but can most likely result in death of a person. Even if the victim regain its sexual vigour, the accused will be held liable for the offence of grievous hurt.

In case of  Prithvi v. State of Haryana, the accused had kicked the deceased on the testicles during a quarrel. The deceased was not given medical treatment for two days. The doctors opined that death was caused due to Toxaemia because of gangrene which could be the result of injury to testicles. The court held that the injury to the testicles was not the direct cause of death. Thus, the accused was held liable under Section 323 for voluntarily causing hurt.

  • Permanent privation of the sight of either eye: It means to deprive a person of his eyesight and this can be caused by poking eyes, by putting hazardous chemicals into the eyes, etc. It includes complete loss of vision as well as loss of quality in vision. The test of gravity is the permanency of the injury cause to one eye or both eyes. Thus, the injury must be permanent. Any temporary eye injury does not come under the ambit of grievous hurt. However, the use of word “Permanent‟ does not imply that injury must be incurable. For example, loss of vision caused by corneal opacity which results due to injury caused to the cornea may be treated by corneoplasty. However, being permanent by itself constitutes a grievous hurt and possibility of treating it by corneoplasty does not diminish its severity.
  • Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear: It implies to deprive a person of his ability to hear. It can be caused by a forceful blow on the head or the ear, or by blows which injure the tympanum or auditory nerves or by pouring hot liquid into the ear or by putting a dangerous substance into the ear which causes deafness. The deprivation of the hearing should have a permanent effect in order to apply this clause. Under this clause even permanent partial loss of hearing constitutes the offence of grievous hurt.
  • Privation of any member or joint: The term “member” refers to any organ or limb, for example eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, hands, feet, etc. and “joint” refers to the connection between two bones or muscles. Thus, if any member or the joint becomes stiff or is not able to perform normal function, it will amount to privation of that member or joint and would constitute offence of  grievous hurt. Moreover, the privation of member or joint must be permanent in order to constitute offence of grievous hurt.
  • Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint: It refers to permanently disabling or impairing of any member or joint. It includes lifelong crippling as well. The provision refers to permanent destruction of the power of the member or joint leading to deprivation for encompassing its particular use. Under this clause any permanent decrease in the functioning of any member or joint also constitutes offence of  grievous hurt.
  • Permanent disfiguration of the head or face: Disfiguration refers to causing some external injury which results in  change in configuration and personal appearance of a person, but it does not necessarily weaken him. For example, attacking a face with a sharp object, throwing acid on the face, etc. amounts to disfiguration. The permanent scar left on the face of a girl after using hot iron also constitutes disfiguration.

In case of Gangaram v. State of Rajasthan, the bridge of the nostrils of a woman was cut due to a sharp-edged weapon. The court in this case held that despite the fact that the inner wall become intact, the act amounted to permanent disfiguration within the meaning of this clause and hence the injury was grievous.

  • Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth: Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth constitutes grievous hurt as it causes pain and suffering to the injured person. This clause applies only when the bone is  fractured or any fragment of  bone is displaced. Any break or splintering of the bone, rupture or fissure in it would amount to fracture. Even a crack or a cut in the bone will also be considered a fracture. Apart from fracture, the dislocation of the bone or the joint also comes under the ambit of grievous hurt. However, a cut will not be taken into consideration if it is merely a scratch.

In case of Hori lal and Anr v. State of U.P, the Supreme court held that ordinarily fracture means breaking of a bone. A mere abrasion or cut that does not go across the bone cannot be called a fracture of the bone. But if the injury is grave, even a partial cut of the skull vault (root or chamber) may amount to a fracture within the meaning of clause 7 of section 320, Indian Penal Code.

Thus, according to this judgement of Supreme Court, incised wound to bone is to be consider as fracture, hence, grievous hurt.  

  • Dangerous hurt: The provisions contained in clause 8 are general in nature and are generally referred as dangerous hurt.  This clause contains three types of hurt that are considered as grievous hurt. Following are the hurts that constitutes grievous hurt under this clause:
  • Any hurt which endangers life; or
  • Any hurt which causes the sufferer to be during the space of twenty days in severe bodily pain; or
  • Any hurt which causes the sufferer to be during the space of twenty days unable to follow his ordinary pursuits.

Injury can be said to endanger life if it is in itself that it put the life of the injured in danger. In case of  Niranjan Singh v State of Madhya Pradesh, the court observed that the term “endangers life” is much stronger than the expression “dangerous to life”.

The term “Ordinary pursuits” refers to the acts that are part of every human being’s everyday routine, such as eating, bathing, going to toilet, etc.

The mere fact that a man has been in hospital for twenty days is not sufficient; it must be proved that during that time he was unable to follow his ordinary pursuits. A disability for twenty days constitutes grievous hurt; if it constitutes for a smaller period, then the offence is hurt.

PUNISHMENT FOR VOLUNTARILY CAUSING GRIEVOUS HURT

Section 325 Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides for punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt. Section 325 states that “Whoever, except in the case provided for by section 335, voluntarily causes grievous hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

CONCLUSION

Section 320 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides for  injuries that are considered as grievous hurt. Only those injuries which fall within the categories of injuries listed in section 320 can constitute the offence of grievous hurt. Therefore, if  injury does not fall within the injuries provided in section 320, this section will not apply. Clauses l to 7 of section 320 provides that emasculation, deprivation of sight, deprivation of hearing, deprivation of member or joint, deprivation of use of any member or joint, disfiguration of the head or face, fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth, will constitute grievous hurt. The eight clause is a general clause which covers all injuries which endanger life or which caused bodily pain or disrupted a person’s routine activity for 20 days or more.

REFERENCES

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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