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GENERAL EXCEPTIONS Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita

Updated: Feb 7

CHAPTER III

GENERAL EXCEPTIONS


Section 14 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act done by a person bound, or by mistake of fact believing himself bound, by law.


Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is, or who by reason of a mistake of fact and not by reason of a mistake of law in good faith believes himself to be, bound by law to do it.


Illustrations.


(a) A, a soldier, fires on a mob by the order of his superior officer, in conformity with the commands of the law. A has committed no offence.

(b) A, an officer of a Court, being ordered by that Court to arrest Y, and after due enquiry, believing Z to be Y, arrests Z. A has committed no offence.


Section 15 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act of Judge when acting judicially.


Nothing is an offence which is done by a Judge when acting judicially in the exercise of any power which is, or which in good faith he believes to be, given to him by law.


Section 16 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act done pursuant to judgment or order of Court.


Nothing which is done in pursuance of, or which is warranted by the judgment or order of, a Court; if done whilst such judgment or order remains in force, is an offence, notwithstanding the Court may have had no jurisdiction to pass such judgment or order, provided the person doing the act in good faith believes that the Court had such jurisdiction.


Section 17 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act done by a person justified, or by mistake of fact believing himself, justified, by law.


Nothing is an offence which is done by any person who is justified by law, or who 10 by reason of a mistake of fact and not by reason of a mistake of law in good faith, believes

himself to be justified by law, in doing it.


Illustration.


A sees Z commit what appears to A to be a murder. A, in the exercise, to the best of his judgment exerted in good faith, of the power which the law gives to all persons of apprehending murderers in the fact, seizes Z, in order to bring Z before the proper authorities. A has committed no offence, though it may turn out that Z was acting in self-defence.


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Section 18 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Accident in doing a lawful act.


Nothing is an offence which is done by accident or misfortune, and without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means and with proper care and caution.


Illustration.


A is at work with a hatchet; the head flies off and kills a man who is standing by. Here, if there was no want of proper caution on the part of A, his act is excusable and not an offence.


Section 19 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act likely to cause harm, but done without criminal intent, and to prevent other harm.


Nothing is an offence merely by reason of its being done with the knowledge that it is likely to cause harm, if it be done without any criminal intention to cause harm, and in good faith for the purpose of preventing or avoiding other harm to person or property.


Explanation. —It is a question of fact in such a case whether the harm to be prevented or avoided was of such a nature and so imminent as to justify or excuse the risk of doing the act with the knowledge that it was likely to cause harm.


Illustrations.


(a) A, the captain of a vessel, suddenly, and without any fault or negligence on his part, finds himself in such a position that, before he can stop his vessel, he must inevitably run down a boat B, with twenty or thirty passengers on board, unless he changes the course of his vessel, and that, by changing his course, he must incur risk of running down a boat C

with only two passengers on board, which he may possibly clear. Here, if A alters his course without any intention to run down the boat C and in good faith for the purpose of avoiding the danger to the passengers in the boat B, he is not guilty of an offence, though he may run down the boat C by doing an act which he knew was likely to cause that effect, if it be found as a matter of fact that the danger which he intended to avoid was such as to excuse him in

incurring the risk of running down the boat C.


(b) A, in a great fire, pulls down houses in order to prevent the conflagration from spreading. He does this with the intention in good faith of saving human life or property. Here, if it be found that the harm to be prevented was of such a nature and so imminent as to excuse A’s act, A is not guilty of the offence.


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Section 20 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act of a child under seven years of age.


Nothing is an offence which is done by a child under seven years of age.


Section 21 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act of a child above seven and under twelve of immature understanding.


Nothing is an offence which is done by a child above seven years of age and under twelve, who has not attained sufficient maturity of understanding to judge of the nature and consequences of his conduct on that occasion.


Section 22 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act of a person of unsound mind.


Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.



Section 23 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act of a person incapable of judgment by reason of intoxication caused against his will.


Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, is, by reason of intoxication, incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong, or contrary to law; unless that the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will.


Section 24 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Offence requiring a particular intent or knowledge committed by one who is intoxicated.


In cases where an act done is not an offence unless done with a particular knowledge

or intent, a person who does the act in a state of intoxication shall be liable to be dealt with

as if he had the same knowledge as he would have had if he had not been intoxicated, unless

the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will.


Section 25 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act not intended and not known to be likely to cause death or grievous hurt, done by consent.


Nothing which is not intended to cause death, or grievous hurt, and which is not known by the doer to be likely to cause death or grievous hurt, is an offence by reason of any harm which it may cause, or be intended by the doer to cause, to any person, above eighteen years of age, who has given consent, whether express or implied, to suffer that harm; or by

reason of any harm which it may be known by the doer to be likely to cause to any such person who has consented to take the risk of that harm.


Illustration.


A and Z agree to fence with each other for amusement. This agreement implies the consent of each to suffer any harm which, in the course of such fencing, may be caused without foul play; and if A, while playing fairly, hurts Z, A commits no offence.


Section 26 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act not intended to cause death, done by consent in good faith for person's benefit.


Nothing, which is not intended to cause death, is an offence by reason of any harm which it may cause, or be intended by the doer to cause, or be known by the doer to be likely

to cause, to any person for whose benefit it is done in good faith, and who has given a consent, whether express or implied, to suffer that harm, or to take the risk of that harm.


Illustration.


A, a surgeon, knowing that a particular operation is likely to cause the death of Z, who suffers under the painful complaint, but not intending to cause Z’s death, and intending, in good faith, Z’s benefit, performs that operation on Z, with Z’s consent. A has committed no offence.


Section 27 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act done in good faith for benefit of child or person with unsound mind, by or by consent of guardian


Nothing which is done in good faith for the benefit of a person under twelve years

of age, or of person with unsound mind, by or by consent, either express or implied, of the guardian or other person having lawful charge of that person, is an offence by reason of any harm which it may cause, or be intended by the doer to cause or be known by the doer to be

likely to cause to that person:


Provided that this exception shall not extend to––


(a) the intentional causing of death, or to the attempting to cause death;


(b) the doing of anything which the person doing it knows to be likely to cause death, for any purpose other than the preventing of death or grievous hurt, or the curing of any grievous disease or infirmity;


(c) the voluntary causing of grievous hurt, or to the attempting to cause grievous hurt, unless it be for the purpose of preventing death or grievous hurt, or the curing of any grievous disease or infirmity; extend.


(d) the abetment of any offence, to the committing of which offence it would not


Illustration.


A, in good faith, for his child’s benefit without his child’s consent, has his child cut for the stone by a surgeon knowing it to be likely that the operation will cause the child’s death, but not intending to cause the child’s death. A is within the exception, in as much as his object was the cure of the child.


Section 28 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Consent known to be given under fear or misconception.


A consent is not such a consent as is intended by any section of this Sanhita,––


(a) if the consent is given by a person under fear of injury, or under a misconception of fact, and if the person doing the act knows, or has reason to believe, that the consent was given in consequence of such fear or misconception; or


(b) if the consent is given by a person who, from unsoundness of mind, or intoxication, is unable to understand the nature and consequence of that to which he gives his consent; or


(c) unless the contrary appears from the context, if the consent is given by a person who is under twelve years of age.


Section 29 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Exclusion of acts which are offences independently of harm caused.


The exceptions in sections 21, 22 and 23 do not extend to acts which are offences independently of any harm which they may cause, or be intended to cause, or be known to be likely to cause, to the person giving the consent, or on whose behalf the consent is given.


Illustration.


Causing miscarriage (unless caused in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the woman) is offence independently of any harm which it may cause or be intended to cause to the woman. Therefore, it is not an offence “by reason of such harm”; and the consent of the woman or of her guardian to the causing of such miscarriage does not justify the act.


Section 30 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act done in good faith for benefit of a person without consent


Nothing is an offence by reason of any harm which it may cause to a person for whose benefit it is done in good faith, even without that person’s consent, if the circumstances are such that it is impossible for that person to signify consent, or if that person is incapable of giving consent, and has no guardian or other person in lawful charge of him from whom it is possible to obtain consent in time for the thing to be done with benefit:


Provided that exception shall not extend to––

(a) the intentional causing of death, or the attempting to cause death;

(b) the doing of anything which the person doing it knows to be likely to cause death, for any purpose other than the preventing of death or grievous hurt, or the curing of any grievous disease or infirmity;

(c) the voluntary causing of hurt, or to the attempting to cause hurt, for any purpose other than the preventing of death or hurt;

(d) the abetment of any offence, to the committing of which offence it would not extend.


Illustrations.


(1) Z is thrown from his horse, and is insensible. A, a surgeon, finds that Z requires to be trepanned. A, not intending Z’s death, but in good faith, for Z’s benefit, performs the trepan before Z recovers his power of judging for himself. A has committed no offence.


(2) Z is carried off by a tiger. A fires at the tiger knowing it to be likely that the shot may kill Z, but not intending to kill Z, and in good faith intending Z’s benefit. A’s bullet gives Z a mortal wound. A has committed no offence.


(3) A, a surgeon, sees a child suffer an accident which is likely to prove fatal unless an operation be immediately performed. There is no time to apply to the child’s guardian. A performs the operation in spite of the entreaties of the child, intending, in good faith, the child’s benefit. A has committed no offence.


(4) A is in a house which is on fire, with Z, a child. People below hold out a blanket. A drops the child from the house top, knowing it to be likely that the fall may kill the child, but not intending to kill the child, and intending, in good faith, the child’s benefit. Here, even if the child is killed by the fall, A has committed no offence.


Explanation.—Mere pecuniary benefit is not benefit within the meaning of sections 21, 22 and 23.


Section 31 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Communication made in good faith.


No communication made in good faith is an offence by reason of any harm to the person to whom it is made, if it is made for the benefit of that person.


Illustration.


A, a surgeon, in good faith, communicates to a patient his opinion that he cannot live. The patient dies in consequence of the shock. A has committed no offence, though he knew it to be likely that the communication might cause the patient’s death.


Section 32 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act to which a person compelled by threats.


Except murder, and offences against the State punishable with death, nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is compelled to do it by threats, which, at the time of doing it, reasonably cause the apprehension that instant death to that person will otherwise be the consequence:


Provided the person doing the act did not of his own accord, or from a reasonable apprehension of harm to himself short of instant death, place himself in the situation by which he became subject to such constraint.


Explanation 1.—A person who, of his own accord, or by reason of a threat of being beaten, joins a gang of dacoits, knowing their character, is not entitled to the benefit of this exception, on the ground of his having been compelled by his associates to do anything that is an offence by law.


Explanation 2.—A person seized by a gang of dacoits, and forced, by threat of instant death, to do a thing which is an offence by law; for example, a smith compelled to take his tools and to force the door of a house for the dacoits to enter and plunder it, is entitled to the benefit of this exception.


Section 33 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS):


Act causing slight harm.


Nothing is an offence by reason that it causes, or that it is intended to cause, or that it is known to be likely to cause, any harm, if that harm is so slight that no person of ordinary sense and temper would complain of such harm.


Bare Act: Section 14 to Section 33 of The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS)| General Exceptions

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