April 11, 2023

Offences against Human Body

This article has been written by Ms. Shivalika Sinha, a 5th year B.B.A.L.L.B student from Bishop Cottton women’s Christian Law College.

Under Indian Penal Code, offences against mortal body is defined. Humans, who claim to be the only intelligent species on this earth, feel they have humanity amongst them but the fact is that the humans in 21st century are the ones who do not have a humanistic approach; they are self-centered. They think only about themselves and can go to any extent to achieve what they want, even harming the other person.

There are categorically many offences mentioned as Offences Against Human Body which includes but is not limited to:

  • Culpable Homicide,
  • Murder,
  • Dowry Death,
  • Various kinds of hurt,
  • Kidnapping- Abduction,
  • Wrongful restraint and confinement,
  • Rape,
  • Unnatural offences etc.

Culpable Homicide

Section 299 defines culpable homicide which is a wider offence than that of murder: Whoever causes death,

  1. by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or
  2. with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or
  3. with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.

In Palani Goundan v. Emperor [1919 ILR 547 (Mad)], the accused struck his wife on the head with a ploughshare, which made her unconscious. Believing her to be dead, in order to lay the foundation of a false defence of suicide by hanging, the accused hanged her. The hanging actually caused her death. The court observed that the intention of the accused must be judged not in the light of actual circumstances, but in the light of what he supposed to be the circumstances.


Section 300 defines murder as

  1. Except in the cases hereinafter excepted, culpable homicide is murder, if the act by which the death is caused is done with the intention of causing death, or;
  2. If it is done with the intention of causing such bodily injury as the offender knows to be likely to cause the death of the person to whom the harm is caused, or
  3. If it is done with the intention of causing bodily injury to any person and the bodily injury intended to be inflicted is sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death, or
  4. If the person committing the act knows that it is so imminently dangerous that it must, in all probability cause death or such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and commits such act without any excuse for incurring the risk of causing death or such injury as aforesaid.

Punishment for Murder

Whoever commits murder shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine. It is to be noted that the death sentence is awarded only in rarest of rare’ cases e.g. assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Gyarsibcti v. State (AIR 1953 M.B. 61), where the woman jumped into a river with her three children as her life had become unbearable on account of family discord, it was held that there was no excuse for the accused for incurring the risk of causing death of her children. Thus, the case was held to be covered under 4thly of Sec. 300.


Section. 319 contain hurt as, Whoever caused bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.

There is nothing in this section to suggest that the hurt should be caused by direct physical contact between the accused and the victim. However, the pain must be bodily and not mental and may be caused by any means. Dragging by hair in aggressive manner and fisting in course of attack are not trivial acts and constitute offence of causing hurt. Infirmity has been defined as inability of an organ to perform its normal function which may either be temporary or permanent. A state of temporary impairment or hysteria or terror would constitute infirmity.

Voluntarily Causing Hurt

Voluntarily Causing Hurt is under 321of IPC. Whoever does any act with the intention thereby causing hurt to any person, or with the knowledge that he is likely thereby to cause hurt to any person, and does thereby cause hurt to any person, is said voluntarily to cause hurt.

Grievous Hurt

Section. 320 contain hurt as 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.

The mere fact that the injured remained in the hospital for 20 days would not be enough to conclude that he was unable to follow his ordinary pursuits during that period.

An injury may be called grievous only if it endangers life’. A simple injury cannot be called grievous simply because it happens to be caused on a vital part of the body close to the carotid artery, unless the nature and dimensions of the injury or its effect are such that in the opinion of the doctor it actually endangers the life of the victim.

Voluntarily Causing Grievous Hurt

Whoever voluntarily causes hurt, if the hurt which he intends to cause or know himself to be likely to cause is grievous hurt, and if the hurt which he causes is grievous hurt, is said voluntarily to cause grievous hurt. It is under section 322 of the Indian Penal Code. 

In Rambaran Mahton v The State (AIR 1958 Pat 452), the deceased and the accused were brothers. On one day, an altercation took place between two, the accused dashed the deceased to the ground and sat upon his stomach and hit him with fists and slaps. The deceased became senseless and eventually died. The deceased had received some serious injuries on the head, chest and the spleen.


Kidnapping is of two types: kidnapping from India, and kidnapping from lawful guardianship.

The literal meaning of kidnapping is child stealing. The two forms of kidnapping may overlap each other. For example a minor kidnapped from India may well at the same time be kidnapped from his lawful guardianship also.

Kidnapping from India

Whoever conveys any person beyond the limits of India without the consent of that person, or of some person legally authorized to consent on behalf of that person, is said to kidnap that person from India. India means the territory of India.

For an offence under this section, it does not matter that the victim is a major or minor. If a person has attained the age of majority and has given his consent to his being conveyed, no offence is committed.

The age of consent for the purposes of the offence of kidnapping is 16 years for boys and 18 years for girls.

Kidnapping from Lawful Guardianship

S. Vardarajan V State Of Madras (Air 1965 SC 942)

Whoever takes or entices any minor under sixteen years of age if a male, or under eighteen years of age if a female, or any person of unsound mind, out of the keeping of the lawful guardian of such minor or person of unsound mind, without the consent of such guardian, is said to kidnap such minor or person from lawful guardianship.

The words lawful guardian in this section include any person lawfully entrusted with the care or custody of such minor or other person.

Dowry Death

This is essentially a crime that happens against a woman. Dowry is essentially a crime that has been prevalent in Indian society for hundreds of years and in spite of many steps taken this evil till now is not completely eradicated.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, Dowry means money and property brought into a marriage by a bride.

Dowry is the main reason which has resulted in female foeticide and infanticide. Since centuries the death of many unborn girls has taken place because of dowry.

Dowry death means when the death of a woman is caused by any burns or bodily injury within 7 years of marriage not under natural circumstances rendering a great suspicion who is the offender of such a crime.

Dowry is a serious threat to society as it has resulted in many women either committing suicide as such they cannot handle such torture and stress or else they are killed by the in-laws and later it is forged into an accident. Though Indian Penal Code section 304-B punishes the person for committing dowry death which is not less than 7 years but which may extend to life imprisonment, this has not helped the nation to solve the problem of dowry.

Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 has also been passed to protect the evil of dowry.


According to the Black’s Law Dictionary:

RAPE is defined as having sex with a person without their permission (such as if they are sleeping or unconscious) or forcing them to have sex against their consent.

IPC does not define consent in positive terms but what cannot be regarded as consent is explained by Section 90 which reads as consent given firstly under fear of injury and secondly under a misconception of fact is not consent at all.

Rape has been a serious menace in today’s era. A hell lot of rape cases are being heard in India the recent being raping and murder of an eight-year-old girl, Asifa whose death once again united the whole nation to fight for a common cause. Earlier the nation was united to fight for the Nirbhaya Gang rape case.

The crime of rape is considered a serious offence against the human body, especially against females. The female who becomes the victim of rape feels shame, regret, have suicidal tendencies and she is believed to bring dishonour to the family; she keeps herself locked in the 4 walls of the house.

It is the society because of which the rape victims are unable to boost themselves. The concept of Victim Blaming is very much prevalent in Indian society though steps are taken to eradicate it. According to this concept, people blame the victim for her rape rather than the perpetrator.

Society passes such comments, Why was the girl out of the house after 10, Why was she wearing such a short dress, What was she doing at such a place where people don’t usually go, She might have asked for etc. Such remarks of the society accuses the woman of her rape rather than the actual accused. Rape is Rape and nothing can justify rape. Even if the perpetrator was drunk and then raped a woman cannot justify his committing rape.

Sexual violence apart from being a dehumanizing act is an unlawful intrusion in the right to privacy and sanctity of women.


Crimes are committed in every part of the world and there is not a single country that is crime-free. Countries still have to struggle to bring a complete stoppage on crimes against the human body because humans are having emotions and in the course of their life various emotions such as revenge, jealousy, ego are expected to crop up and because of all this they commit a crime.


  1. http://www.fimt-ggsipu.org/study/ballb206.pdf
  2. Palani Goundan v. Emperor [1919 ILR 547 (Mad)]
  3. Gyarsibcti v. State (AIR 1953 M.B. 61
  4. Rambaran Mahton v The State (AIR 1958 Pat 452)
  5. S. Vardarajan V State Of Madras (Air 1965 SC 942)

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