Offences of hurt


Section 319 provides that “whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt” (One year and fine). The definition of pain contemplates the causing of pain, etc. by one person to another.

Where serious mental derangement is caused by some voluntary act, a hurt is caused. But harm so slight that no person of ordinary sense and temper would complain of it is excluded by Section 95 of the Code.

Grievous Hurt

Section 320 lays down the following kinds of hurt only which are designated as “grievous”:

  • Emasculation i.e., depriving a person of masculine vigour;
  • Permanent privation of the sight of either eye;
  • Permanent privation of hearing of either ear;
  • Privation of any member of joint
  • Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint:
  • Permanent disfiguration of the head or face
  • Fracture or dislocation of bone or tooth; and
  • Any hurt which endangers life or which causes the sufferer to be during the space of 20 days in severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits—(seven years, and fine).
  • It could not be said that the accused intended or knew that the kicking on the abdomen was likely to endanger life and consequently the accused was guilty of causing hurt only.
  • It was held in similar circumstances in Shahe Rai (3 Cal. 623) that the accused had committed hurt on the infant under the circumstances of sufficient aggravation to bring the offence within the definition of grievous hurt.
  • The offence committed is neither of grievous hurt, not of culpable homicide, but of simple hurt. (1917 Bom. 259).


Is the accused guilty of either murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder in the following case?

The accused struck his wife a blow on her head with a ploughshare which, though not shown to be a blow likely to cause death, did in fact render her unconscious and believing her to be dead in order to lay the foundation of false defence of suicide by hanging, the accused hanged her on a beam by a rope and thereby caused her death by strangulation.

In the above circumstances it was held by a Full Bench of the Madras High Court in Palani Goudon v. Emperor (I.L.R. 42 Madras 547, F.B.) that the accused was not guilty of either murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

A man is not guilty of culpable homicide if his intention was directed only to what he believed to be a lifeless body.

Their lordships held that on the facts as found the accused could not be convicted either of murder or culpable homicide; he could of course he punished both of his original assault on his wife and for his attempt to create false evidence by hanging her. The accused was ultimately convicted of grievous hurt under Section 326, I.P.C.

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By Hassham

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