The right to self-defense is distinguished by every sovereign nation in the world so that people can, in some instances, take the law into their own hands for their protection.
Any act done in self-defense is not an offense, and no person will be convicted for the same. Regardless, for an action to be considered self-defense, the danger must be immediate and substantial. The victim has no time to pursue the legal resort of reaching the local police. In India, the right to self-defense is protected under Sections 96 – 106 of the Indian Penal Code.
The sections which approve of the right of self-defense are following:–
Right of private defense cannot be said to be an offense in return. The right of self-defense under Section 96 is not absolute. However, it is qualified by Section 99, which says that the right in no case extends to the inflicting of more harm than it is necessary for defense.
This section of the Indian Penal Code divides the right of private defense into two parts. The first part deals with the right of private defense of a person, and the second part with the right of private defense of property. This right extends not only to the defense of one’s own body or property but also to defend the body and property of any other person. Even a stranger can defend the person or property of another person and vice versa.
It assumes that the right to private defense, from its very nature, admits of no exception since it is the right to preserve one’s life and property as another’s life and property against the world at large. The right of defense of the body exists against all attackers, with or without men’s rea.
There is no right of Private defense –
- against the acts of a public servant acting in good faith.
- against the acts of those acting under the authority or direction of a public servant.
- where there is sufficient time for recourse to public authorities.
- the quantum of harm that may be caused shall in no case be in excesses.
To invoke this section following four conditions must exist.
- The person exercising the right of private defense must be free from fault in bringing about encounters.
- There must be present, an impending peril to life or of great bodily harm, rape, unnatural lust, kidnapping or abduction, wrongful confinement, etc.
- There must be no safe or reasonable mode of escape by retreat, and
- There must have been a necessity for taking the life.