Injury falls within the ambit of Grievous Hurt under Section 320 IPC

Grievous Hurt : It is useful to refer the judgment of Hon’ble Supreme Court reported in 2005 SCC (Cri) 695 in the case of Mathai v. State of Kerala, wherein his Lordship has observed thus:

“Grievous hurt” has been defined in Section 320 IPC, which reads as follows:

“320. Grievous hurt.- The following kinds of hurt only are designated as “grievous’:

First. – Emasculation.

Secondly.-Permanent privation of the sight of either eye.

Thirds-Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear.

Fourthly. -Privation of any member of joint.

Fifthly. -Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member of joint.

Sixthly. -Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.

Seventhly.-Fracture of dislocation of a bone or tooth.

Eighthly.-Any hurt which endangers life or which causes the sufferer to be during the space of twenty days in severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits.

Some hurts which are not like those hurts which are mentioned in the first seven clauses, are obviously distinguished from a slight hurt, may nevertheless be more serious. Thus a wound may cause intense pain, prolonged disease or lasting injury to the victim, although it does not fall within any of the first seven clauses. Before a conviction for the sentence of grievous hurt can be passed, one of the injuries defined in Section 320 must be strictly proved, and the eighth clause is no exception to the general rule of law that a penal statute must be construed strictly.

The expression “any instrument which, used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death” has to be guaged taking note of the heading of the section. What would constitute a “dangerous weapon” would depend upon the fact of each case and no generalisation can be made.

The heading of the section provides some insight into the factors to be considered. The essential ingredients to attract Section 326 are (1) voluntarily causing a hurt; (2) hurt caused must be a grievous hurt; and (3) the grievous hurt must have been caused by dangerous weapons or means.

As was noted by the Apex Court in State of U.P. v. Indrajeet there is no such thing as a regular or earmarked weapon for committing murder or for that matter a hurt. Whether a particular article can per se cause any serious wound or grievous hurt or injury has to be determined factually.

At this juncture, it would be relevant to note that in some provision e.g. Section 324 and 326 the “dangerous weapon” is used. In some other more serious offences the expression used is “deadly weapon” (e.g. Sections 397 and 398). The facts involved in a particular case, depending upon various factors like sieze, sharpness, would throw light on the question whether the weapon was a dangerous or deadly weapon or not. That would determine whether in the case Section 325 or Section 326 would be applicable.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Horilal v. State of U.P., AIR 1970 SC 1969 in order to justify the conviction under Section 326 IPC observed that injuries must satisfy the requirements of clause 7 or 8 of Section 320 of IPC, otherwise, they will be treated as simple injuries.

Clause 7 and 8 of Section 320 of IPC provide that an injury could only be designated as grievous if it is-

(i) a fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth, or

(ii) any hurt which may endangers life or which causes the sufferer during the space of 21 days in a severe bodily pain or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits.

Get free Case Laws via Email Subscription

News Reporter