Interpretation of ‘Good Faith’ under IPC

January 23, 2020

Image source - https://bit.ly/2Gjjprb

This article is written by Kashish Kundlani, a third-year student of (BBA.LL.B) Ramaiah Institute of Legal Studies, Bangalore. In this article, we’ll discuss the interpretation of good faith under the Indian Penal Code.


Have you ever given a thought to define ‘good faith’? It is very difficult to define ‘good faith’. Even on a daily basis, we define it as what is not evil or what is not bad but nobody explains what is good, we often define it in a negative way. Even in the Indian Penal Code, it is defined in a negative way and not to the point. Throughout the Indian Penal Code, a lot of importance is given to good faith because in any case it is very important to decide the intention of a person, whether he/she has done an act in a bonafide manner i.e. good faith or with evil intent.

Good faith under IPC

Section 52 of the Indian Penal Code defines good faith. Without due care and attention, nothing is said to be done or believed to be done in good faith.

The expression ‘with due care and attention’ is only used in this Section and not defined anywhere else.

The Courts on the basis of their judgments and interpretation have tried to explain it.

Based on the logic and reason, a good intention, with due care and expertise is an important factor while determining an act done in good faith.

The prevailing circumstances, capacity and intellect of a person should be kept in mind to analyse the act done by him.


Are the key points for determining the act done.

An act not intending to cause death done by consent in good faith for a person’s benefit

Section 88 of the Indian Penal Code defines that where the intention is not to cause death but by any such reason it may cause harm, or it may be intentionally caused by the doer, or the doer knows that it is likely to cause harm, to any person for whose benefit it is done in good faith and also expressly or impliedly the person has given the consent to suffer that harm or to take the risk of that harm will not be considered as an offence.


‘C’, a surgeon, knows that a particular operation may result in the death of ‘W’ who is suffering from throat cancer, but there is no intention to cause his death and he does performs the operation in good faith and for W’s benefit that too with his consent. Here ‘C’ has committed no offence.

An act is done in good faith for the benefit of a child, or insane person, or by consent of a guardian

Section 89 of the Indian Penal Code states that any act done in good faith and for the benefit of the person who is below the age of twelve years, or who is of unsound mind by the guardian himself or by any other person who is lawful in charge of that person, either expressly or impliedly then it is not an offence even though it is likely to cause harm to the person.


Section 92: An act done in good faith without the consent

Section 92 defines as not even a single act or thing is a crime if such reasons are present:



Here ‘S’ has not committed any offence. 

Here Priyanka has not committed any offence and even if the child gets killed by the fall she will still not be held guilty under this offence.     

Essentials of Section 92

Communication made in good faith

Section 93 of the Indian Penal Code defines the communication made in good faith.

It states that if anything is communicated to someone else in a good faith and for the benefit of that person then it is not an offence even if by the communication the person suffers any harm.


Sia, a surgeon, communicates to her patient that he cannot live much longer because of his incurable disease. The patient dies in consequence of the shock. Here Sia has not committed any offence even though she knew that the information might affect him.

             Click above

Case laws

Doraswami Pillai v. The King-Emperor on 3 March,1903

In this case, the police constable under the suspicious character of the accused visited his premises at midnight with another constable and knocked on his door in order to check his presence in the house.

The constable wanted to watch his movements though it does not authorise the complainant to enter and watch the movements of the accused appearance in the house or knocking at his door at midnight to cause him annoyance and inconvenience. 

If any police constable wants to enter the premises to watch the movements or presence of a suspected person then it requires the public order from the concerned Magistrate.

Even after acquiring the public order it should be done with a lawful means and not by trespassing upon his premises or by opting any other unlawful means to do that.

It was found out that the accused after knocking by the constable he came out and abused and pushed the complainant and also afterwards brought a stick and lift it up in order to threaten him.

The accused will be held guilty under this act of assault done by him unless he proves it to be in the exercise of private defence of the property.

It was held that the police constable will be held liable for house-trespass under Section 442 of the Indian Penal Code because of the course adopted by the police was not appropriate and also insulting to the accused and held the actions of accused justified under Section 104 as a result acquitted him from the charges and also did not gave any defence to the police constable under Section 52 for acting in good faith.

Sukaroo Kobiraj v. The Empress on 30 April, 1887

In this case, the appellant was held guilty by the Sessions Court under Section 304A of the Indian Penal Code on the grounds that he caused the death of the patient by performing a very dangerous operation which resulted in unstoppable bleeding and in consequence he died.

He filed an appeal in the Calcutta High Court.

It was argued before the court that the appellant should not be held guilty under Section 304A as before also he has performed dangerous operation in which it was shown that it did not cause the death of any patient and even though he caused death then also he should be given the benefit under Section 88 as the act was done in good faith, without any intention to cause death and was done for the benefit of the patient who accepted the risk.

It was argued by the respondent that even if the intention to cause death is not there but it is difficult to establish the essentials of Section 52 which is ‘with due care and attention’ and he should not be given the relief or any benefit under Section 88 as he does not have any proper knowledge of how to perform surgery.

It was held by the court that he should be held guilty but should not be given a very harsh punishment as the patient’s approval for the operation was also there. So the court charged him a fine of ₹100 and if he fails to pay the fine then he has to undergo three months of rigorous imprisonment.

Plea of good faith as a defence

Apart from Section 88, 89, 92 and 93, the few other Sections of the Indian Penal Code where good faith is used as a defence are:


The expression ‘good faith’ is distant from being absolute and obvious, as we often consider it as the standard of behaviour of a person. Whatever according to us is reasonable and apt and also done with due care and attention we think it as if it is done in good faith.

The interpretation of good faith for our own understanding is easy while we compare it with behaviour but it becomes difficult to define it in words as we have a tendency to say that what is not morally wrong or bad is good but nowhere the term good faith is particularly and in a simple language defined.

But good faith if proved in any case can save a person where the trial against him is going on.

Apart from having the relevance of good faith in the Indian Penal Code, it has also been seen it’s significance in the Contract law. 


Students of Lawsikho courses regularly produce writing assignments and work on practical exercises as a part of their coursework and develop themselves in real-life practical skill.

LawSikho has created a telegram group for exchanging legal knowledge, referrals and various opportunities. You can click on this link and join:


Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our YouTube channel for more amazing legal content.

Exit mobile version