Critical Appraisal of Private Defense Under Indian Penal Code

A penal code is a particular body related to crimes and offenses and the punishment for commission. Private defense under the Indian penal code is a right availed to all citizens in circumstances where one is protecting himself or property.  Under section 96 to 106 in which it is stated that each person has a right to use unlimited force in defense against an attacker as a means to defend his life or property or that of another person near to him in the event that state law enforces are not readily available. This then gives justification and protection to a criminal who commits crime in the name of self-defense against an assailant. Critical appraisal of private defense under Indian penal code is therefore a systematic assessment of the penal code, reviewing its relevance, validity and its application situations.

It is the fundamental obligation of the Indian state to give protection to its citizens’ life and property, even though self-protection remains each and every person’s mandate. This is however logistically impossible to achieve regardless of how big or resourced the government agencies may be, to police every person wherever he/she is. The penal code therefore gives individuals the right to take law into their own hands in response to safety. This is however limited to instances where there is sufficient time for police to provide the necessary protection. In section 99 however, there is limitation to the use of unnecessary force to cause harm to another person in the name of self-defense. The private defense to one’s body extends to causing of death in circumstances when an assailant tends to rape an individual, in cases of abduction or kidnap and when an assailant tends to inflict serious bodily harm to an individual.

Even though the law would go a long way in the provision of necessary self-protection to citizens, it is however very difficult for the courts who implement the laws to determine whether individuals exercise the right appropriately and whether actions taken are done in good faith. It would therefore be more appropriate if adjustments are done to the penal code, to ensure that it is not misused or acted on inappropriately in the name of self-defense.

Posted by December 3rd, 2014