Indian Penal Code

Offence affecting Life – Hurt Part I (Section 319 to Section 325)

All the offences affecting human lives physically are present in Chapter 16 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. This chapter contains a part which deals exclusively with offences of hurt. Section 319 basically defines hurt and the succeeding sections define aggravated forms of hurt. Depending on how an offender commits these offences, various sections and punishments will apply.

Section 319

Hurt under Section 319

The offences of hurt and assault might sound similar but there are some basic differences between them. While enacting these provisions, the authors of IPC deliberately kept these offences separate. This is because bodily hurt can take place even by acts which are not assaults. For example, a person may dig a hole and conceal it to make somebody fall and get hurt, but this is not an assault.

According to Section 319, a person causes hurt if he causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to somebody. In other words, the victim must suffer some physical harm or pain due to the actions of the offender.

The main requirements of hurt are bodily pain, disease or infirmity. There are many ways in which this offence can take place. For example, a person may hit somebody or even poison him.

If a person hits somebody without intention to cause his death, the offence of hurt will apply and not homicide. In this case, the act should be such that it is not likely to cause the victim’s death. For example, a man my punch a person in his stomach without knowing that he suffers from a ruptured spleen. If the victim dies due to his pain, the offender is guilty of just hurt and not homicide or murder.

Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt

When a person does an act with the intention of causing hurt to someb0dy or with the knowledge that he likely to cause hurt, he is guilty of causing hurt voluntarily under.

When a person voluntarily causes hurt to somebody, the court can punish him with imprisonment up to 1 year. The court can also levy a fine of maximum Rs. 1,000 in addition to the imprisonment.

Grievous Hurt

Grievous hurt under Section 320 is basically an aggravated form of simple hurt under Section 319. The following eight kinds of hurt only can be grievous hurt:

1) Causing hurt by emasculation (castration of male sexual organs);

2) Permanent privation of one’s eyesight;

3) Permanent privation of one’s hearing;

4) Privation of one’s members or joints;

5) Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of one’s members or joints;

6) Permanent disfiguration of one’s head or face;

7) Fracturing or dislocating one’s bones or teeth;

8) Causing any hurt which endangers one’s life or causes him to suffer severe bodily pain for 20 days or makes him unable to follow his ordinary pursuits.

Whenever hurt amounts to any of these eight kinds of injuries, it becomes grievous hurt. The prosecution or victim must be able to prove the existence of these injuries.

Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt

If an offender intentionally and voluntarily causes grievous hurt, Section 325 punishes him with imprisonment up to 7 years. The punishment may also include a fine.

Punishment for causing hurt with dangerous weapons

The offence of simple hurt aggravates when an offender commits it with dangerous weapons or methods. For example, he may cause hurt using instruments of shooting (guns), stabbing or cutting (knives). He may even use fire, heated substances, poison, explosives, corrosive substances, etc. He may also use any other instrument which is likely to cause death.

Since simple hurt gets aggravated when these kinds of weapons or means are used, the punishment for these offences becomes severe. While the imprisonment sentence for simple hurt extends to 1 year, it goes up to 3 years for these offences. The court can also levy a fine in addition to imprisonment.

Solved Questions on Section 319

(a) Although the offences of hurt and __________ sound similar, there are differences between them.

(b) According to Section 319, the ingredients of hurt are bodily injury, disease or __________.

(c) Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt includes imprisonment up to __________ years.

Answers:          (a) assault          (b) infirmity          (c) 7

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