Trending: Call for Papers Volume 4 | Issue 4: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]


There are circumstances when the state mechanism may not be accessible to the citizens to defend themselves in case of impending danger and in those situations, a person is allowed to employ force to avert the impending threat. People have the right to protect themselves when state aid cannot be obtained and this right is called the right of private defence of body. This right is provided under sec. 96-106 of Indian Penal Code. However, this right can only be exercised when the circumstances justify it and not otherwise. The right of private defence is subject to restrictions given under section 99 of the IPC. Section 99 provides that the right to private defence cannot be availed when there is sufficient time to take recourse to the public authorities, and also not against a public servant acting in good faith under a legal duty unless reasonable apprehension is caused. It also provides that force used must not be excessive than is necessary to ward off the impending threat.[1]

In certain circumstances, the right of private defence also extends to causing death of the person who poses such a danger. This right is provided under sec. 100 of the Indian Penal Code. In order to avail this, there must be reasonable apprehension that death or grievous hurt might be caused, or in case of assault with intention [2]of committing rape, abducting, wrongfully confining a person when there is apprehension of throwing or attempting to throw acid.3 Although the law permits causing of death in certain circumstances of private defence, it ensures that the person does not exceed this right.4 This right can only be availed when the danger or the threat is imminent and the force applied must be proportionate to the danger. However, as stated in Puran Singh v. State of Punjab5 there is no set of scales that determines whether the accused has exceeded the right. It has to be determined from the facts and circumstances of each case.

[1]PSA Pillai, Criminal Law 10th ed. 2008, p.199

[2]RatanlalDhirajlal, The Indian Penal Code(34th ed. 2014) ,p.173