Self Defence is the Nature’s Eldest Law
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.
This Right is primarily of two types:
(i) Right of Private Defence of Body,
(ii) Right of Private Defence of Property.
According to Sections 96 and 97 of the Indian Penal Code, nothing is an offence which is done in the exercise of the Right of private defence. Further, according to the Right of private defence both of the body and of property, every person has a Right (subject to the restrictions contained in Section 99) to defend his own body or that of any other person or against any offence affecting the human body.
IN SELF DEFENCE AND IN DEFENCE OF THE INNOCENT COWARDICE IS THE ONLY THE SIN
This Right of self defence is not available to a person who resorts to retaliation for past injuries, but to him who is suddenly confronted with immediate necessity of averting an impending danger not of his creation. The necessity must be real or apparent, before the antagonist can justifiably be deprived of his life. In considering the plea of self defence not only is the manner of defence to be considered; the time also is important. If the person assaulted does not fall upon the aggressor until the affray is over, or when he is running away, that is revenge and not defence.
SELF DEFENCE IS NOT ONLY OUR RIGHT; IT IS OUR DUTY
In a life or death situation, all rules go right out the window. There is no such thing as a self-defense rule book, and there certainly isn’t something known as a fair fight.You need to use everything at your disposal to stop the attacker. Eye gouging, biting, throat strikes, and groin attacks are all fair game when trying to defend your life. Do whatever it takes to win! As soon as you can, get away… Far away! Don’t let your ego get you killed; remember, if you’re dead you didn’t win the fight. The moment you can make your way to safety, you need to take that opportunity and get out of Dodge. But at last, if a fight is unavoidable, and you really feel like you are in danger of bodily harm, you are going to want to take the attacker out before they can hurt you. Your goal is to immobilize the attacker and physiologically defeat anyone who may be thinking about joining the fight.
SUPREME COURT LAYS DOWN GUIDELINES FOR RIGHT OF PRIVATE DEFENCE FOR CITIZENS IN-
DARSHAN SINGH v. STATE OF PUNJAB
First- His own body, and the body of any other person, against any offence affecting the human body;
Second- The property, whether moveable or immoveable, 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 or criminal trespass.”
Section-100 of the Indian Penal Code mentions indispensible circumstances enumerating the dangers one may be confronted with and the extent of Right available thereafter:
“S.100- When the Right of private defence of the body extends to causing death. –
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 release.”
The Section justifies the killing of an assailant when apprehension of atrocious crime enumerated in several clauses of the section is shown to exist. First clause of Section 100 applies to cases where there is reasonable apprehension of death, while the second is attracted where a person has a genuine apprehension that his opponent is going to attack him and he reasonably believes that the attack will result in a grievous hurt. In that event he can go to the extent of causing the latter’s death in the exercise of the Right of private defence even though the latter may not have inflicted any blow or injury on him.
It is settled position of law that in order to justify the act of causing death of the assailant, the accused has simply to satisfy the court that he was faced with an assault which caused a reasonable apprehension of death or grievous hurt.
The question whether the apprehension was reasonable or not is a question of fact depending upon the facts and circumstances of each case and no strait-jacket formula can be prescribed in this regard. The weapon used, the manner and nature of assault and other surrounding circumstances should be taken into account while evaluating whether the apprehension was justified or not.
WITH RIGHTS COMES RESPONSIBILITIES
Right of private defence is a Right of every citizen and it will help every citizen to defend himself and his property. However, the set back is that this Right can be misused, when it is used for revenge. This is the stage, wherein the Court of Law plays a crucial role, in deciding the true fact of the matter, and to ensure that the Right to defence one’s own body and property can be exercised.
Rohit Gaur, Advocate, Prosoll law Inc.