Grievous Hurt

Abstract:

Hurt and grievous hurt are the cases which are found in all the criminal courts, there is no court which has not dealt with these cases. The present paper attempts to present a clear idea of what does the sections in IPC related to grievous hurt says and what are the punishments for the same.

What is grievous hurt:

Chapter XVI, of Indian Penal Code, Of Offences Affecting the human body, under “of hurt” includes the crime of grievous hurt under section 320. The sections from 319 to 388 of IPC has mentioned about hurt and grievous hurt.

According to IPC section 320 states as follows:

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

  1. Emasculation.
  2. Secondly Permanent privation of the sight of either eye.
  3. Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear.
  4. Privation of any member or joint.
  5. Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint.
  6. Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.
  7. Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth.
  8. Any hurt which endangers life or which causes the sufferer to be during the space oftwenty days in severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits”.[1]

Explanation:

Emasculation means to deprive a male of his private part. Castration, cutting of any male organ, or causing injuries to the testis or the spinal cord from second to fourth vertebrae which results in impotence. So if anyone in hurts a male private part which makes him impotent for life time will be considered to have committed a grievous hurt.

Permanent privation of the sight of either eye  is basically when there has been done a permanent damage to the eyes. The gravity of the crime does not get effected by even if the injury can be cured by corneoplasty. The gravity of injury lies in its permanency because it deprives a person of the use of the organ of sight and also disfigures him. Permanent privation of sight can be caused by gouging out of eyes, poking eyes, chemicals, etc.[2]

Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear includes the permanent partial loss of the hearing by any means which may include injury of auditory nerves.

Privation of any member or joint includes any organ or limb including noes, ears, eyes, mouth etc.

Permanent disfiguration of the head or face means when the damage done is external or to the external features of the head or face which changes the original configuration and appearance.

Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth even a small break in the bone or dislocation of fragments of bone is considered to be a grievous hurt. Fracture was considered from the SC judgement in the case of Hori lal and Anr vs. State of U.P. (1969),incised wound to the bone is to be consider as fracture, hence, grievous hurt.[3]

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 this means that when a person injured should not be able to work at least for the twenty days from the injury and if the time period is led than twenty days then the offence committed is hurt[4]

It is said to be a grievous hurt is caused only if there is the intention of causing it and has the knowledge that his actions are going to cause a grievous hurt. The same is mentioned in Section 322[5] of IPC.

For example: If A knowingly throws a hammer on B’s face knowingly that he will get injured and B does get injured then A has committed the offence of grievous hurt.

Also, if A throws a hammer of B’s face knowingly but ends up dropping on  B’s leg and his toes gets fractures, even though A’s intention was to grievously hurt his face but now he has fractured his toes, it will still be consideredas an offence of grievous hurt.

But if, a throws a hammer on his head knowingly that it will cause him grievous hurt but it hits hard on B’s head and he dies, it will be considered as culpable homicide and not grievous hurt.

“Leaving aside for a moment the special forms of grievous hurt which lead up to the last clause of the definition where any hurt is inflicted which endangers human life and does not fall within the previous special categories, the slightest analysis will show that it is only grievous hurt if death is not caused and wherever death is caused it immediately becomes culpable homicide not amounting to murder”[6].

Punishment for grievous hurt

Punishment for causing grievous hurt is mentioned in section 325[7] of IPC in which the maximum imprisonment time is of seven years including the fine which is decided by the court.  But the sentence should be given in accordance with the brutality of the crime committed.

Whoever throws or attempts to throw acid on any person or attempts to administer acid to any person, or attempts to use any other means, with the intention of causing permanent or partial damage or deformity or burns or maiming or disfigurement or disability or grievous hurt to that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine[8].

Different ways or reasons of committing grievous hurt:

Acid Attack, for exortion of Property[9] or to constrain legal act, to extort confession[10], or to compel restoration of the property, to deter public servant from his duty[11]Grevious hurt on provocation[12], For self defence or personal safety[13].

The Amendment ordinance bill 2013 :

Whoever causes permanent or partial damage or deformity to, or burns or maims or disfigures or disables, any part or parts of the body of a person or causes grievous hurt by throwing acid on or by administering acid to that person, or by using any other means with the intention of causing or with the knowledge that he is likely to cause such injury or hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life, and with fine: Provided that such fine shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses of the treatment of the victim: Provided further that any fine imposed under this section shall be paid to the victim”.[14]

Whoever throws or attempts to throw acid on any person or attempts to administer acid to any person, or attempts to use any other means, with the intention of causing permanent or partial damage or deformity or burns or maiming or disfigurement or disability or grievous hurt to that person, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than five years but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine”.[15]

By the Amendment of 2013 These two amendments were made for the offence of committing grievous hurt by acid attack. Section 326A includes the definition of acid attack and defines any substance which has an acidic nature or has a corrosive or burning character or the one which has the capacity of causing injury to the body which leads to permanent or temporary scars or any disfiguration. The nature of the damage also includes any kind of burns or deformities or disabled functioning of any body parts because of the attack. Also the purpose of these two sections is “permanent or partial damage or deformity shall not be required to be irreversible.”


Section 320 of Indian Penal Code

[2] Reddy KSN. The Essential of Forensic medicine and Toxicology. 26th edition. Medical Book Company: Hyderabad; 2005. p. 251-255.

[3]Horilal V State of Uttar Pradesh, AIR 1970 SC 1969

[4]  Section 319 Indian Penal Code

[5]Voluntarily causing grievous hurt.—Whoever voluntarily causes hurt, if the hurt which he intends to cause or knows 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”

[6]Emperor vs Bai Jiba on 2 August, 1917

[7] Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt.—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.

[8]Section 326 of Indian Penal Code

[9]Section 329of Indian Penal Code.

[10] Section 331 of Indian Penal Code.

[11] Section 333 of Indian Penal Code.

[12] Section 336 of Indian Penal Code.

[13] Section 338 of Indian Penal Code.

[14]Section 326A of Indian Penal Code

[15]Section 326B of Indian Penal Code

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