Section 96 to 106 of the penal code states the law relating to the right of private defence of person and property. The provisions contained in these sections give authority to a man to use necessary force against an assailant or wrong-doer for the purpose of protecting one’s own body and property as also another’s body and property when immediate aid from the state machinery is not readily available and in so doing he is not answerable in law for his deeds. Section 97 says that the right of private defence is of 2 types:- (i) Right of private defence of body,
(ii) Right of private defence of property.
Body may be one’s own body or the body of another person and likewise property may be movable or immovable and may be of oneself or of any other person. Self-help is the first rule of criminal law. The right of private defence is absolutely necessary for the protection of one’s life, liberty and property. It is a right inherent in a man. But the kind and amount of force is minutely regulated by law. The use of force to protect one’s property and person is called the right of private defence. Nature Of The Right
It is the first duty of man to help himself. The right of self-defence must be fostered in the Citizens of every free country. The right is recognised in every system of law and its extent varies in the inverse ratio to the capacity of the state to protect life and property of the subject( citizens). It is the primary duty of the state to protect the life and property of the individuals, but no state, no matter how large its resources, can afford to depute a policeman to dog the steps of every rouge in the country. Consequently this right has been given by the state to every citizen of the country to take law into his own hand for their safety. One thing should be clear that, there is no right of private defence when there is time to have recourse to the protection of police authorities. The right is not dependent on the actual criminality of the person resisted. It depends solely on the wrongful or apparently wrongful character of the act attempted, if the apprehension is real and reasonable, it makes no difference that it is mistaken. An act done in exercise of this right is not an offence and does not, therefore, give rise to any right of private defence in return. Section 96. Things done in private defence:-
Nothing is an offence, which is done in the exercise of the right of private defence. Right of private defence cannot be said to be an offence in return. The right of self-defence under Section 96 is not absolute but is clearly qualified by Section 99 which says that the right in no case extends to the inflicting of more harm than it is necessary for the purpose of defence. It is well settled that in a free fight, no right of private defence is available to either party and each individual is responsible for his own acts. While it is true that law does not expect from the person, whose life is placed in danger, to weigh, with nice precision, the extent and the degrees of the force which he employs in his defence, it also does not countenance that the person claiming such a right should resort to force which is out of all proportion to the injuries received or threatened and far in excess of the requirement of the case. The onus of proving the right of private defence is upon the person who wants to plead it. But an accused may be acquitted on the plea of the right of private defence even though he has not specifically pleaded it. Courts are empowered to exempt in such cases. It must be borne in mind that the burden of proving an exception is on the accused. It is not the law that failure to setup such a defence would foreclose this right to rely on the exception once and for all. It is axiomatic that burden on the accused to prove any fact can be discharged either through defence evidence or even through prosecution evidence by showing a preponderance of probability. It is true that no case of right of...
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