Grievous Hurt under Indian Penal Code

Grievous Hurt under Indian Penal Code
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The offense of Grievous hurt is one of the core offenses that affect the human body. It is dealt with under Chapter XI of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and due punishment has been prescribed for the same. In this article, we will explore the meaning of Grievous hurt, types and punishment for the offense of grievous hurt.

Meaning of Grievous hurt

As per the Oxford dictionary, the term “Grievous Hurt” means any injury that endangers the life of an individual. In India, the concept of grievous hurt is mentioned under Section 320 of the Indian Penal code. As per the definition, the offense of grievous hurt has mainly 2 ingredients.

  1. The offense of Hurt shall occur.
  2. The Hurt shall be grievous in nature. It means the offense shall fall within 8 types of injury stated in section 320.

Now, It is essential to understand the meaning of Hurt.

What Constitutes Hurt??

Section 319 of the IPC states that the term “Hurt” includes any bodily injury, disease or disorder occurring to any person. In a nutshell, the offence of hurt will be committed if any of the below three conditions will be satisfied.

Bodily Pain

As per this, The hurt must be physical in nature. It is important to note that mental or emotional trauma doesn’t take into consideration. Furthermore, the severity of the injury is immaterial for this purpose.

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Illustration- A pulled B with his hairs and took him away. Now, the offense of hurt is committed by A as a bodily injury is inflicted on B.

Infirmity to another

It includes all those injuries that made our organs incapable to perform their daily functions. The injury may be temporary or of permanent nature. It can be inflicted through the administration of toxic material or physically assaulting the person.

Illustration – If A gave poisonous material to B and due to which B’s internal organs failed miserably. Now, the offense of Hurt is committed.

Disease

The communication or transfer of disease from one person to another through physical touch is also subject to the provision of hurt. In Ruka vs Emperor case, a prostitute has inflicted syphilis on her customer and she was held liable under Section 319 of the IPC.

Illustration – If a person deliberately spread infection of covid -19 to another person, then it is also an offense of hurt.

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The Hurt Must be Grievous in Nature

The gravity of the offense holds special importance while determining the offense of Grievous hurt.  Section 320 is exhaustive in nature and it listed 8 types of Grievous injuries which are as follows –

Causing Emasculation:

Emasculation can be referred to as an injury that affects the sexual capacity of a man. This injury can be inflicted by cutting the organ or causing injury to the scrotum and the testis. This section doesn’t apply to females. It is important to note that the accused will be held liable even if the aggrieved regain its sexual vigour.

Causing Permanent Privation of the Vision of Either eye:

The Oxford dictionary defined “Privation” as the loss of the basic things which are essential for living a life.  The privation of the eyesight can occur by way of putting hazardous chemicals or poking into the eyes. The privation not only includes the loss of complete vision but also includes the loss of quality in the Vision. However, the injury of the aforesaid nature must be permanent. Any temporary effect on our eyes will not come under the scope of grievous injury.

Causing Permanent privation of Hearing Capacity of Either Ear:

The permanent deafness is also termed as a Grievous hurt for this section as it deprives a person of his sense of hearing. The injury can be inflicted by a strong blow on the head or the ears or by inserting a stick in the ear. Further, the act of putting a hazardous substance into the ear will also be considered a grievous injury

Causing Permanent Privation of any Member or Joint:

For Section 320 of the IPC, the term “member” means any organ or limb and “joint” refers to a place in the body wherein two bones or muscles come together and make a connection. The offense of grievous hurt will be committed if any member of the joint becomes stiff and the normal functioning of the body is not possible. Further, the privation must be for a permanent period.

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Causing Destruction or Permanent Impairment of Powers of any Limb or Joint:

This Clause deals with the permanent impairment of the powers of the limb or joint. Under this clause, the loss of a hand or the loss of a little finger can also be considered grievous hurt.

Causing Permanent Disfigurement of the Head or Face:

The permanent disfiguration of the face or head also comes under the scope of grievous hurt.  The term “disfigure” implies causing some external injury. It is important to note that If the face or head is deformed for causing injury,  then it will also amount to grievous hurt even though the injury may not have impacted their functioning either temporarily or permanently. The example of grievous hurt includes the tearing of ears, cutting the nose, attacking the cheeks with a sharp object, etc. The permanent scar or mark remaining after putting hot iron on the face of a girl is also an example of disfiguration.

Causing Fracture or Dislocation of a Bone or Tooth:

As per the Oxford dictionary, the term fracture means the breaking of the bone. For this section, it is important to note that even a crack or a cut in the bone will also be considered a fracture. However, a cut will not be taken into consideration if it is merely a scratch. Apart from fracture, the dislocation of the bone or the joint also falls under the scope of grievous hurt.

Causing any Hurt Which Endangers the Life

Lastly, the grievous hurt also included those injuries which put the life of a person at risk. This clause also includes all those injuries which cause severe body pain and make the person unable to follow his daily work for a period of twenty days.

Punishment for Grievous hurt

There are various forms of punishment prescribed for the offense of grievous hurt. The imprisonment can be simple or rigorous and it mainly depends upon the facts of the case. These punishments are as follows –

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Punishment for causing Grievous hurt Voluntarily (Section 325)

It states that if a person deliberately and voluntarily causes grievous hurt to any other person, then he will be subject to imprisonment which can be extended up to seven years. The person can be liable for the fine also.

Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by a dangerous weapon (Section 326)

This section entails a list of instruments that can be used for causing grievous hurt. This can be done by shooting, cutting or stabbing. Further, any injury through explosive and poisonous material also comes under this scope. The person accused under this section shall be punished with a maximum period of 10 years or by fine or both.

Punishment for causing grievous hurt by using Acid (Section 326 A)

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Acid attack is a heinous offense and its punishment is prescribed under this section.  It states that if a person causes grievous injury by throwing acid, then he will be subject to a minimum sentence of 10 years which can even be extended to life imprisonment or fine or both. The fine collected under this section is granted to the victim for maintaining the medical expenses.

Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort property (Section 329)

Any person who causes grievous hurt intending to extort property, then he will be subject to a punishment which can be extended to 10 years or fine or both.

Classes of criminal courts in India

Punishment for Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to compel restoration of property (Section 331)

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This section prescribes the punishment for those instances in which a person inflicts some grievous injury while claiming or restoring his property by force. The accused will be subject to imprisonment which can be extended to 10 years or fine or both.

Punishment for causing grievous hurt to prevent the public servant from performing his duty (Section 333)

The provision of this section is confined to the people working in the public employment arena. So, if any person causes grievous hurt to any public servant or prevents him from discharging his legal duty, then he will be subject to a punishment of 10 years or both.

Punishment for causing grievous hurt on provocation (Section 335)

This section deals with that situation in which the person inflicts any grievous injury due to some provocation, anger or during a heated conversation. It is not deliberately planned thus the quantum of punishment is relaxed.  Any person implicated under this section is punished with an imprisonment of 4 years or fine or both.

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Punishment for causing grievous hurt negligently that endangered the life of others (Section 338)

The main objective of this section is to punish those persons who negligently or rashly commit an act which in turn causes grievous injury to another person. The quantum of punishment is simple imprisonment which can be extended to 2 years or fine or both.

Conclusion

The offense of grievous hurt is one of the serious offenses against the body and a large number of session courts are filled with the cases that involve this offense. This section is exhaustive in nature and it is mainly dealt with under Section 320 of the IPC. The punishment for this offense varies from the manner of performance.

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