The Supreme Court Expands the Scope of Right to Self Defense

Dhananjay Mahapatra | TNN | Jun 17, 2016, 02.03 AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a significant judgment that expands the boundaries of the right to self-defence, the Supreme Court has ruled that a person would be exonerated of assault charges reasonable apprehension right in taking the law into his hands if he witnessed his parents or relatives being assaulted.

The landmark ruling came in the case of two persons who had been convicted by the trial court for assaulting some of their neighbors in the villagers. The Rajasthan high court upheld their conviction and sentenced them to two years’ rigorous imprisonment.

But the Supreme Court bench of Justices Dipak Misra and Shiva Kirti Singh found the facts to be a little different: It was true that the two convicts had assaulted others, but police failed to point out why the two had resorted to assault and how they had so many injury marks on their bodies, the SC reasoned while acquitting the two of all charges.

The Supreme Court reiterated and given effect to what has been stated in Sections 96  to Section 106 of IPC. OF THEM Sections 96 ,97, 100 to 106

Of these 11 sections Section 96 and 97 and 100 IPC are more important.

Section96: Nothing is an offence which is done in the exercise of the right of private defense.

Section97: Section 97- Right of private defence of the body and of property

Every person has a right, subject to the restrictions contained in Section 99, to defend-

First-His own body, and the body of any other person, against any offence affecting the human body;

Secondly-The property, whether movable or immovable, of himself or of any other person, against any act which is an offence falling under the definition of theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass, or which is an attempt to commit theft, robbery, mischief for criminal trespass.

Section 97- Right of private defence of the body and of property

Every person has a right, subject to the restrictions contained in Section 99, to defend-

First-His own body, and the body of any other person, against any offence affecting the human body;

Secondly-The property, whether movable or immovable, of himself or of any other person, against any act which is an offence falling under the definition of theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass, or which is an attempt to commit theft, robbery, mischief for criminal trespass.

 Section100: The right of private defence of the body extends, under the restrictions mentioned in the last preceding section, to the voluntary causing of death or of any other harm to the assailant, if the offence which occasions the exercise of the right be of any of the descriptions hereinafter enumerated, namely :–

First-Such an assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that death will otherwise be the consequence of such assault;

Secondly-Such an assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that grievous hurt will otherwise be the consequence of such assault;

Thirdly-An assault with the intention of committing rape;

Fourthly-An assault with the intention of gratifying unnatural lust;

Fifthly-An assault with the intention of kidnapping or abducting;

Sixthly-An assault with the intention of wrongfully confining a person, under circumstances which may reasonably cause him to apprehend that he will be unable to have recourse to the public authorities for his rele

 My Conclusion:  sections 96 to 106 deal with  acts done in defense of the Right to one’s own private defense but includes near and dear relations including  strangers with a view to save one’s own life , and property but also near and dear one’s property including strangers life and property are not offences at all if death happens as a result of the acts of death committed by the accused in self defence and defence of others against the assailant from his acts of aggression including rape,  death. Grievous hurt, robbery, theft criminal trespass etc etc where there is likelihood of the assailant causing Grievous hurt, Even death with a view to commit offence of rape murder, kidnapping criminal trespass, Housebreaking robbery other sexual offences apart from rape. It is heartening to note that Supreme court in the above cited judgment simply enforced a statutory right of Private defense to protect not only one’s own life  but also his near immediate relation father and was provoked to  assault the assailants in  their exercise of right to private defence to save his father and himself from any harm  including death from the assailants and hence the apex court rightly acquitted them recognizing and upholding Section 96,97,98 and Section 100 etc .Hence in such imminent danger occurs to those exercising right of private defence which extends to near and dear ones including strangers as illustrated and mentioned in the above provisions.

Under the right to private defense we or our close relations or even strangers can getaway with murdering  or grievously hurting the rapist without any punishment at all.

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