IPC Section 101: Right to Cause Harm Other Than Death

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IPC Section 101: Right to Cause Harm Other Than Death

1. State the Code

Section 101 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) states:
“Nothing is an offence by reason of its being done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause harm, if it is done without any intention to cause harm, and in good faith for the purpose of preventing or avoiding other harm to person or property.”

2. Explanation

This section defines a lawful exception to causing harm. It states that causing harm, other than death, is not an offence if:

  • The act is done without any intention to cause harm.
  • It is done in good faith to prevent or avoid greater harm to a person or property.

In essence, this section recognizes the principle of “necessity” in criminal law. If an act is necessary to prevent greater harm, even though it might cause some harm, it is justified and not an offence.

3. Illustration

Imagine a person breaking a window to rescue a child trapped inside a burning house. The act of breaking the window causes harm to property, but it is not an offence under Section 101. It was done without any intention to damage property and was necessary to prevent greater harm (death or serious injury to the child).

4. Common Questions and Answers

Q: Can I use force against someone if they are about to steal my property?
A: Section 101 can apply here. If you use force to prevent the theft, but not with the intention to cause harm, and it is necessary to prevent a greater harm (theft), it might be justified. However, the amount of force used must be proportionate to the threat. Excessive force would be an offence.

Also Read  Section 287 CrPC: Parties Examining Witnesses in Criminal Procedure

Q: Does this section apply to causing death?
A: No. This section specifically excludes causing death.

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