Right of Private Defence in PPC

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What is the right of private defence?

The right of private defence is the inherent right of a man that is bestowed on him by nature and also by the law of every country to protect his life and property. He is justified in using force against anyone to protect his life and property.

Relevant Provisions

Section 96 to 106 of the Pakistan Penal Code deal with the right of private defence.

Definition

The right of private defence is defined as;

 The right to use force to protect the body and property is called the right of private defence.

Criminal liability in private defence – Section 96

If a man does an act in the exercise of the right of private defence then he is not liable to any kind of punishment. It means that his particular act in the exercise of the right of private defence will not be considered a crime in the eyes of law.

Who has the right of private defence – Section 97

It is contained in the Pakistan Penal Code that every person can enjoy the right of private defence. Here, he can defend two things.

  1. His own body and the body of any other person against any offence that is causing or supposed to cause any harm to the human body.
  2. His own property or the property of any other person, whether the property is movable or immovable, against any act that is an offence under.
    • Theft or attempt to commit theft                       (Section 378)
    • Robbery or attempt to commit robbery         (Section 390)
    • Mischief or attempt to commit mischief         (Section 425)
    • Criminal Trespass or attempt to commit it     (Section 441)

Note: A person can use this right only according to the restrictions contained in Section 99.

Right of private defence against the act of a person of unsound mind – Section 98

An act that is usually considered an offence will not be considered an offence if it is committed;

    • By an infant
    • By an immature person
    • By an insane person
    • By an intoxicated person
    • Due to misconception

But the person against whom the act of offence is done has the same right of private defence as if that act would have an offence.

Limitations of the right of private defence – Section 99

The Pakistan Penal Code also contain acts of certain persons against which the right of private defence cannot be exercised. These are discussed below.

  1. Act of public servant
  2. The act that is done by the direction of a public servant
  3. Cases in which there is time to report to public authorities
  4. Cases in which more harm is inflicted than necessary

Condition: The condition is as follows;

    • There must be no apprehension of death or grievous hurt
    • The act must be done in good faith by the doer

 

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Right of private defence of the body extends to cause death – Section 100

While exercising the right of private defence of the body, a man can also cause the death of the other person. But this action must be done in accordance with the restrictions contained in Section 99. Following are the situations under which a man can even cause the death of another person;

    •  An assault causing apprehension of death
    • An assault causing apprehension of grievous hurt
    • An assault  with the intention of committing rape
    • An assault with the intention of gratifying unnatural lust
    • An assault with the intention of kidnapping or abducting
    • An assault with the intention of wrongfully confining a person

Causing any harm other than death – Section 101

If the offence is not falling among the above-mentioned categories then the death of the offender cannot be caused. However, any harm other than death can be caused under the restrictions contained in Section 99.

Commencement and continuance of the right of private defence of the body – Section 102

The right of private defence of the body commences as soon as there is a reasonable apprehension of danger to the body.

This right continues as long as such apprehension of danger to the body continues.

Right of private defence of property extends to cause death – Section 103

While exercising the right of private defence of the property, a man can cause the death of the other person. But this action must be done in accordance with the restrictions contained in Section 99. Following are the situations under which a man can even cause the death of another person;

    • Robbery ( It is the illegal taking of property from any person against his will even in his presence or in his absence.)
    • House-breaking by night (According to section 446, Whoever commits house-breaking after sunset and before sunrise, is said to commit “house-breaking by night”)
    • Mischief by fire (Mischief by fire committed on any building, tent or vessel which is used as a human dwelling, or as a place for the custody of property)
    • Theft, mischief, house-Trespass (Right of private defence can be exercised if there is an apprehension of death or grievous hurt against theft, mischief or house-trespass)

Causing any harm other than death – Section 104

If the offence of the offender is not falling among the above-mentioned categories then the death of the offender cannot be caused. However, any harm other than death can be caused under the restrictions contained in Section 99.

Commencement and continuance of the right of private defence of property – Section 105

The right of private defence of the property commences as soon as there is a reasonable apprehension of danger to the body.

This right continues as long as such apprehension of danger to the body continues.

In case of risk of harm to an innocent person – Section 106

If there is no way to save one’s life except putting the life of an innocent person at risk, then he can put it at risk and can use the right of private defence against that particular situation.

The burden to prove

The burden to prove the facts falls on the person exercising the right of private defence. So, it is his duty to prove that he has committed no wrong and he has only exercised the right of private defence while using specific precautionary measures.

The Final Note

The chapter on the right of private defence of either body or of property is of great importance and holds a paramount position in the Pakistan Penal Code as it saves a person from criminal liability. With the help of sections contained in PPC, a person can save himself from criminal liability after proving himself to be innocent.