Section 120A

This article is written by Vihanka Narasimhan, a law student from Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal University. This article makes an attempt to explain Section 325 IPC which deals with the concept of ‘Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt’. 

It has been published by Rachit Garg.

Introduction

The grave offence of grievous hurt can be found in chapter 16 titled ‘offences affecting the human body’ under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Section 320 enumerates eight kinds of hurt which are ‘grievous’ in nature including emasculation, injury resulting in loss of eyesight and/or hearing, loss or impairment of a person’s limb or joint, disfigurement of face and head, dangerous hurt i.e., severe bodily pain for a period of twenty days and fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth. The punishment for voluntarily causing ‘grievous hurt’ has been provided under Section 325 of the Code. In order to be convicted under this Section it is crucial that the grievous hurt is a sort of specific hurt which has been voluntarily inflicted on a person and comes under the ambit of Section 320.

Meaning of hurt 

The term hurt has been defined under Section 319 of the Indian Penal Code as “Whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.” In layman’s terms, in order for an offence to be conceived as hurt, the following elements need to be satisfied: –

Bodily pain

In order for an offence to be classified as hurt, it is essential that there is an element of ‘bodily pain’. It can be understood as the direct result of an act causing bodily pain irrespective of the methods used. It is also important to note that this element can be satisfied without physical contact; however, the concept of emotional or mental pain is not covered under this section. In addition to this, It is important to take note that any kind of injury which causes a risk of life resulting in severe body pain making it unable for him/her to follow his/her ordinary pursuits temporarily cannot be regarded as a grievous hurt but falls under the ambit of hurt.

Disease

In order for an offence to be classified as hurt, it is essential that the spread of a ‘disease’ takes place. In a nutshell, it implies that if a person gets a certain disease from another person, it will come under the purview of this section. In the case of Raka v. Emperor, with a prostitute who had syphilis and as a consequence of the nature of her profession the disease was transferred to her customers. In this case, the Court made the judgement against her stating that the prostitute was liable under Section 269 of the Indian Penal Code which was a negligent act on her part that led to the spread of the disease which could be potentially dangerous to the life of another person.

Infirmity

In order for an offence to be classified as hurt, it is essential that there is an element of ‘infirmity’. The term can be understood as the inability of an organ to perform its normal function either temporarily or permanently. It can be conceived as the direct result of an act that leads to a state of temporary mental impairment, hysteria or terror.

Meaning of grievous hurt

The term grievous hurt has been defined under Section 320 of the Indian Penal Code in the following manner: –

“The following kinds of hurt only are designated as “grievous”: —

First. —Emasculation.

Secondly. —Permanent privation of the sight of either eye.

Thirdly. —Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear.

Fourthly. —Privation of any member or joint.

Fifthly. —Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint.

Sixthly. —Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.

Seventhly. —Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth.

Eighthly. —Any hurt which endangers life or which causes the sufferer to be during the space of twenty days in severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits.”

In layman’s language, in order for an offence to be conceived as grievous hurt, the following elements need to be satisfied: –

Emasculation

In order for an offence to be classified as grievous hurt, it is essential that ‘emasculation’ takes place. According to Merriam Webster, the term emasculation has been defined as “to deprive of strength, vigour, or spirit”. This type of grievous hurt is restricted to men only and is generally used when harm is caused to the scrotum of a man which in turn results in his impotence. It will be considered as a type of grievous hurt irrespective of it being permanent or temporary in nature.

Injury to eyesight

In order for an offence to be classified as grievous hurt, it is essential that ‘injury to the eyesight’ of a person takes place. This type of injury includes disfigurement of the body through permanent or partial loss of eyesight in either or both eyes.

Hearing impairment

In order for an offence to be classified as grievous hurt, it is essential that ‘hearing impairment’ has taken place due to some injury to a person. This type of injury includes disfigurement of the body through the infliction of damage to the ear in such a way that it causes permanent deafness. It can take place when a person’s skull, brain or ear gets damaged. This injury is only given traction in case of permanent hearing loss and is considered less serious than the loss of eyesight.

Loss of limb or joint

In order for an offence to be classified as grievous hurt, it is essential that there is an element of ‘loss of limb or joint’ that has taken place due to some injury to a person. The term limb can be defined as an arm or leg of a person and a joint is the articulation of two bones in the body. The deprivation of a limb or joint can make a person incapable of doing tasks that are done with the help of limbs or joints; for instance, if a man’s legs are cut down by someone, he would not be able to walk or run.

Impairment of a limb or joint

In order for an offence to be classified as grievous hurt, it is essential that there is an element of ‘Impairment of limb or joint’ that has taken place due to some injury to a person. This type of injury includes disfigurement of the body through the infliction of damage in such a way that it permanently decreases the utility of a limb or joint which in turn results in hampering a person from performing day-to-day tasks.

Disfigurement of head or face

In order for an offence to be classified as grievous hurt, it is essential that disfigurement of the head or face has taken place due to some injury to a person. The term disfigure has been defined as “to spoil the appearance of something or someone, especially their face, completely” by the Cambridge dictionary. This type of injury includes disfigurement of the body through the infliction of damage in such a way that it permanently ruins a person’s looks or physical beauty by scaring.

Fracture or dislocation of a bone or teeth

In order for an offence to be classified as grievous hurt, it is essential that a fracture or dislocation to a bone or teeth has taken place due to some injury to a person. A fracture can be usually defined as a complete or partial breaking of bone and dislocation is when a bone is forced out of its ordinary location.

Dangerous hurt

In order for an offence to be classified as dangerous hurt, it is essential that one of the following takes place when a person is injured: –

  1. An act of a person puts another person’s life in danger
  2. An act that leads to severe bodily pain that a person suffers for a period of twenty days
  3. An act that leads to severe bodily pain that a person is unable to do his ordinary work and daily activities for a period of twenty days

It is crucial to note that, in case there is an absence of an intention to cause death (mens rea), or grievous bodily hurt, the accused will only be held guilty of causing hurt and not grievous hurt.

Difference between hurt and grievous hurt

The terms hurt and grievous hurt may seem similar in nature but in actuality have different provisions in the law. The differences between both the terms are as follows: –

  1. The term ‘hurt’ has been defined under Section 319 whereas ‘grievous hurt’ has been defined under Section 320 of the Indian Penal Code. 
  2. The term ‘hurt’ includes three main components which include bodily pain, disease and infirmity caused due to an injury whereas ‘grievous hurt’ includes eight main components namely, includes emasculation, injury resulting in loss of eyesight and/or hearing, loss or impairment of a person’s limb or joint, disfigurement of face and head, dangerous hurt, fracture and dislocation of tooth or bone.
  3. The criminal offence of ‘grievous hurt’ is way more serious than the offence of ‘hurt’.
  4. ‘Hurt’ is punishable under Section 323 only up to 1 year or a fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both whereas ‘grievous hurt’ is punishable under Section 325 up to 7 years and a fine.
  5. It is necessary that another offence has been committed along with the offence of ‘hurt’ to be punishable; however, in case of ‘grievous hurt’, it itself is sufficient to hold a person who committed the offence liable.
  6. The offence of ‘hurt’ is a non-cognizable, bailable and compoundable offence whereas ‘grievous hurt’ is a cognizable, bailable and compoundable offence.

For simpler understanding, please refer to the table below: – 

BasisHurtGrievous Hurt
ComponentsIt is defined under Section 319 and includes bodily pain, disease and infirmity.It is defined under Section 320 and includes emasculation, injury resulting in loss of eyesight and/or hearing, loss or impairment of a person’s limb or joint, disfigurement of face and head, dangerous hurt, fracture and dislocation of tooth or bone.
SeriousnessIt is not serious in nature as it does not endanger a person’s life.It is serious in nature as it endangers a person’s life.
PunishmentIt is punishable under Section 323 and is non-cognizable.It is punishable under Section 325 and is cognizable and bailable.
RequirementsIn order to be deemed punishable, it must be accompanied by other offences.It is punishable by itself.

Punishment under Section 325 IPC

Section 325 of the Indian Penal Code provides for the punishment of grievous hurt. It states that: –

“Whoever, except in the case provided for by Section 335, voluntarily causes grievous hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

In simple words, causing grievous hurt to someone is considered to be a somewhat serious crime in India and is cognizable in nature. Cognizable offences can be defined as a privilege that the law provides to a police officer which allows him to make an arrest without a warrant from a court. It is, however, bailable and compoundable at the discretion of the court. It is important to remember that in case a person gets convicted for this crime, he/she will be imprisoned for a term which may extend up to seven years and shall also be liable to a fine.

Exception to Section 325 IPC

From the language of Section 325, it can be easily interpreted that Section 335 serves as  an exception which in turn will not result in the penalisation of a person in case of grievous hurt. Section 335 states that the accused should voluntarily cause grievous hurt on grave and sudden provocation and such a grievous hurt should not be intended to hurt other than the person who gave that provocation. According to this section, in case a person is caught doing the aforementioned, he/she will be either punished with imprisonment of four years or a fine which may extend to two thousand rupees, or with both. 

What happens when a person is charged with Section 325 IPC

In order for a criminal procedure to start, generally the first reaction of the victim would be to go to a police station and file a First Information Report (FIR) or in simple terms, the victim will file a complaint. After this step, an investigation is started by the police wherein evidence is collected. This leads to the creation of something known as the ‘charge sheet’ which is filed by the police. A charge sheet is basically is a report that is filed by the police to the Magistrate after the investigation has been successfully done which records the details relating to the name of the informant/complainant, the accused and victim, any witness, items  or articles seized, date, time and place of occurrence of the crime, the name of the investigating officer, the medical reports if ant made, the FIR number, the true findings of the case diary etc. The accused person is then taken before the Magistrate who orally narrates the offence(s) committed to the accused and asks them if they plead guilty or not. If the accused person pleads guilty, the Magistrate makes a record of the statement of the accused and then proceeds for conviction. However, if they do not plead guilty then a trial takes place wherein the judge may then decide the acquittal or the conviction of the accused.

FAQs on Section 325 IPC

  1. What offence is defined under IPC 325.

This Section specifies the punishment for the offence of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to a person.

  1. If a person gets convicted under Section 325, what is the punishment?

The offence committed under this Section is punishable with 7 years in jail and a fine.

  1. Is Section 325 a cognizable offence or a non-cognizable offence?

The offence committed under this Section is a cognizable offence.

  1. Is Section 325 a bailable or non-bailable offence?

The offence committed under this Section is a bailable offence.

  1. In what court can IPC 325 be tried?

The offence committed under this Section can be tried in the court of any Magistrate.

Conclusion

In the Indian Penal Code, the provision with regards to grievous hurt has been laid down from Section 320. At first glance the term hurt may look synonymous with grievous hurt however, they have specific meanings and punishments assigned to them by our legal system. Grievous hurt is a grave crime and is scrutinised and penalised by the judiciary strictly. If convicted, one can be sentenced behind bars for up to seven years and will also be liable to pay a fine.

References

  1. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1569253/
  2. https://www.scribd.com/document/273410138/Jhamatmal-v-brahamanand-pdf
  3. https://indiankanoon.org/doc/1738430/
  4. https://www.lawinsider.in/columns/hurt-its-type-and-punishments
  5. https://old.amu.ac.in/emp/studym/99995894.pdf
  6. https://lawrato.com/indian-kanoon/ipc/section-325

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