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Difference between rash acts and negligent acts under BNS (Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita)

Updated: Feb 22

The term "criminal negligence" is not expressly defined in the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023 (BNS). Criminal negligence involves grave and culpable neglect, where an individual fails to perform a duty with reasonable care, leading to injury or death. This neglect can extend to actions such as rash driving, medical negligence, or negligence by transport personnel.

Essential Ingredients of Section 106 BNS:

To establish criminal negligence under Section 106 BNS, certain essential ingredients must be fulfilled:

1. Death of an Individual: Criminal liability arises only when the victim has died due to the negligent act.

2. Negligent Act by the Accused: The death must be a direct result of a rash or negligent act by the accused. This act can include both commission and omission, extending the scope of liability.

3. Exclusion of Culpable Homicide: The accused's act should not fall under culpable homicide, indicating an absence of intention or knowledge to cause death.

4. Mens Rea: While criminal negligence doesn't require explicit intention, there must be a guilty state of mind. This includes recklessness, indifference, or a callous attitude resulting from a negligent or rash act.

Types of Acts Covered:

Section 106 BNS encompasses both rash and negligent acts. Rash acts involve subjective and objective elements, requiring deliberate action associated with foreseeable risks. Negligent acts, on the other hand, involve a lack of reasonable care and caution, with the accused unaware of or having no reason to believe the illegal consequences of their actions.

Difference between Rash Acts vs. Negligent Acts

Difference between Rash Acts and Negligent Acts is important to know as both are key terms under Section 106 BNS.

1. Differences:

   - Rash Act: Involves doing something with indifference to its consequences, signifying a grave and intentional wrong.

   - Negligent Act: Covers omission to perform a legal duty or committing an act or omission that a reasonable person would not do, emphasizing a lack of awareness regarding consequences.

2. Knowledge of Consequences:

   - Rash Act: The perpetrator possesses knowledge or reason to believe in the consequences of their actions.

   - Negligent Act: The individual lacks full knowledge about the consequences while engaging in the act.

3. Relationship and Nature:

   - All rash acts cannot be negligent acts; rash acts represent a broader category that includes negligent acts.

   - All negligent acts can be considered rash acts, making negligence a species within the genus of rashness. Negligent acts are comparatively less grave in nature.

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