Article written by Advocate Alpa Jogi on IPC 97 : Right of private defence of the body and of property
In simple terms, the right of private defence is the right to self-preserve in the face of imminent threat or danger. This right becomes available for use when one is exposed to threat or danger at the hands of an aggressor/ assailant. The danger or threat should be of such gravity that it becomes absolutely incumbent on the defender to act/react immediately in his defence lest he risks a loss of life or property.
Section 97 of The Indian Penal Code (IPC) states that:
Every person has a right, subject to the restrictions contained in section 99, to defend –
(1) His own body, and the body of any other person, against any offence affecting the human body;
(2) The property, whether movable or immovable, of himself or of any other person, against any act which is an offence falling under the definition of theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass, or which is an attempt to commit theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass.
However, it is important to note that this right exists only against an act which is recognised as an offence and not any other. Unreasonable apprehension on part of the accused about the likelihood of an attack does not entitle him to this right. The apprehension of an attack must be reasonably justifiable.
Additionally, as is apparent from its name, the right of private defence is an act of defence and not of an offence. Therefore, it cannot be exercised as an excuse to justify aggression. The right of self-preservation is inherent in every person but to achieve that end nothing could be done which constitutes an act of definite aggression on an innocent person.
Note : Above information is in general form, issued with a motive to help. Author disowns any kind of liability.
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