As a layman, we often view various offences involving the human body, in some two or more common categories of crimes. However, after a detailed understanding of the Indian Penal Code, we can see that several crimes are categorized under various offences which are least aware of. For example, kidnapping and abduction seem to be the same but they are two very different offences against the human body. Did you know that? We usually don’t think there might be such differences in crimes as well, like murder and culpable homicide are still used interchangeably, but they are not the same.
IPC divides offences affecting the human body into two sets—
- Offences against Human Life (Section 299- 318)
- Offences against the Human Body (Section 319-377)
In this article, we will be seeing what are the different offences against the human body and the punishments for it under the Indian Penal Code.
Offences against the Human body include—
- Wrongful Restraint and wrongful confinement
- Criminal Force or assault
- Kidnapping, abduction, slavery and forced labour
- Unnatural offence
This article aims to provide you with a comprehensive summary of the provisions related to the above-mentioned offences.
What is Hurt?
Section 319-338 of the IPC deal with Hurt, various forms of hurt and punishments for causing hurt. There are two types of hurts- Simple and Grievous. Simple hurt means causing bodily pain, disease or infirmity to a person. Whereas Grievous includes Emasculation, permanent damage to eyes, hearing, joints, impairing of members or joints, permanent disfiguration of the head or face, fracture or dislocation of bones or tooth and lastly causing heavy body pain for 20 days or endangering of life. Doing these acts with intention and knowledge is known as voluntarily causing hurt or grievous hurt. Following are various categories of punishments under offences related to hurt—
|Voluntary causing hurt||1 year or rs 1000|
|Voluntary causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means||3 years|
|Voluntarily causing grievous hurt||7 years|
|Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons or means||10 years|
|Voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid, etc||Not less than 10 years|
|Voluntarily throwing or attempting to throw acid||Not less than 5 years, Extends till 7 years|
|causing hurt to extort property, or to constrain to an illegal act.—||10 years|
|Causing hurt using poison, etc., with intent to commit an offence||Max 10 years|
|causing grievous hurt to extort property, or to constrain to an illegal act.—||Imprisonment for life or 10 years|
|causing grievous hurt to extort property, or to constrain to an illegal act.—|
|Voluntarily causing hurt to extort confession, or to compel restoration of property.—||7 years and fine|
|Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to extort confession, or to compel restoration of property||10 years and fine|
|. Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty||3 years or fine or both|
|Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servants from his duty.—||10 years or fine or both|
|Voluntarily causing hurt on provocation||1 month or rs.500 or both|
|Voluntarily causing grievous hurt on provocation.—||4 years or 2000rs or both|
|Act endangering life or personal safety of others||3 months or 250rs|
|Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others.—||6 months or 500rs|
|Causing grievous hurt by an act endangering the life or personal safety of others.—||2 years or 1000rs|
What is Wrongful restraint?
Lets us take an example, suppose you are stopped by a person from entering your college or office or a place where you have a right to enter like polling booths, it will be called a wrongful restraint. Thus when a person, voluntarily stops or obstructs any person to prevent him from going in direction or place which he has a right to go or proceed shall be known as wrongful restraint. However, if this obstruction is done by a person on his private land or sea it will not constitute an offence of wrongful restraint. Section 339-341 deals with offences relating to wrongful constraints. The offence is not only limited to physical obstruction, if a person shows force or threat which makes a man change directions will also amount to wrongful constraint. Further, the physical presence of the person causing wrongful restraint is also not necessary.
What if you go inside a shop and the shopkeeper closes its doors, preventing you from going outside but also obstructing you from going anywhere else as you are closed inside the shop and cannot move beyond it. This type of obstruction is called wrongful confinement. It is defined as wrongfully restraining a person to prevent him from proceeding beyond certain limits, Here malice is not an essential ingredient. Detention with the use of moral force not accompanied by physical force is sufficient.
Punishments relating to wrongful confinement and wrongful constraints—
|wrongful restraint||Imprisonment – extend to 1 month Fine- extends to 500 rs or both|
|wrongful confinement.||Imprisonment – extend to 1 year Fine- extends to 1000 rs or both|
|Wrongful confinement for three or more days.||Imprisonment – extend to 2 years or fine or both|
|Wrongful confinement for ten or more days||Imprisonment – extend to 3 years and fine|
|Wrongful confinement of person for whose liberation writ has been issued||Imprisonment – extend to 2 years and additional imprisonment under other sections|
|Wrongful confinement in secret||Imprisonment – extend to 2 years and additional imprisonment under other sections|
|Wrongful confinement to extort property, or constrain to an illegal act||Imprisonment – extend to 3 years and fine|
|Wrongful confinement to extort confession, or compel restoration of property||Imprisonment – extend to 3 years and fine|
Criminal Force or assault
A person is said to use force when he causes motion, change or cessation of motion to the other person or causes the same to a substance that on coming in contact with the other body, clothing affects the other feeling. There are three ways in which the force should be caused— by his bodily power, by disposing of any substance or by inducing an animal to move or change its motion or cease its motion. It is exercising directly or indirectly one energy upon another person.
Criminal force means to intentionally use force to commit an offence, cause fear, injury or annoyance to a person or knowing that it will cause fear, injury or annoyance and still using force with that intention. Criminal force alone is not an offence. It is an ingredient in the offence of Assault.
Assault means a threat given to another to use criminal force against them and also making preparation or such gesture that makes the threat real or apparent to be carried out. Here the gesture or preparation in the presence of another and knowing that such gesture or preparation will make the person apprehend that the person making the action is about to use criminal force are two essential ingredients. Mere words do not amount to an assault.
Punishments for aggravated forms of assault—
|assault or criminal force without provocation||Imprisonment – Extend to 3 months Fine- extend to Rs.500|
|Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty||Imprisonment – Extend to 2 years or Fine or both|
|Assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty||Imprisonment – not less than 1 year and Extend to 5 years or fine or both|
|Sexual harassment||Imprisonment – Extend to 1 year or 3years or Fine or both|
|Assault or use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe||Imprisonment – not less than 3 years and Extend to 7 years or fine or both|
|Voyeurism||Imprisonment – not less than 3 years and Extend to 7 years and Fine|
|Stalking||Imprisonment – Extend to 3years and Fine|
|Assault or criminal force with intent to dishonour person, otherwise than on grave provocation||Imprisonment – Extend to 2 years or Fine or both|
|Assault or criminal force in an attempt to commit theft of property carried by a person||Imprisonment – Extend to 2 years or Fine or both|
|Assault or criminal force in an attempt wrongfully to confine a person||Imprisonment – Extend to 1 year or Fine extend to Rs.1000 or both|
|Assault or criminal force on grave provocation||Imprisonment – Extend to 1 month or Fine extend to Rs.200 or both|
Kidnapping, abduction, slavery and forced labour
Kidnapping is of two types— Kidnapping from India and Kidnapping from lawful guardianship.
When a person is conveyed or taken beyond the limits of India by another person, without consent of that person or his legally authorized person it is called kidnapping from India. It is necessary that the person conveyed was in India at the time of the offence.
When a person takes or entices any male minor under 16 years of age, a female minor under 18 years of age or a person of unsound mind out of the custody and without the consent of the legal guardian, it amounts to Kidnapping from lawful guardianship.
Like criminal force, Abduction is not an offence until caused to commit an offence, like abduction to do robbery or murder is an offence. Abduction means to make a person go from a place by forcible compulsion or by inducing him to do so by deceit. Here, actual force is required, not like assault where a mere gesture to cause harm is enough.
Punishment for kidnapping, abduction and other aggravated crimes—
|kidnapping||Imprisonment- Extend to 7 years and fine|
|Kidnapping or maiming a minor for begging||Kidnapping- Imprisonment- Extend to 10 years and fine Maiming- Imprisonment for life|
|Kidnapping or abducting to murder||Imprisonment- Extend to 10 years and fine|
|Kidnapping for ransom, etc||death, or imprisonment for life, and liable to fine.|
|Kidnapping or abducting with intent secretly and wrongfully to confine a person||Imprisonment- Extend to 7 years and fine|
|Kidnapping, abducting or inducing woman to compel her marriage, etc||Imprisonment- Extend to 10 years and fine|
|Procuration of a minor girl||Imprisonment- Extend to 10 years and fine|
|Importation of girl from a foreign country||Imprisonment- Extend to 10 years and fine|
|Kidnapping or abducting to subject a person to grievous hurt, slavery, etc||Imprisonment- Extend to 10 years and fine|
|Wrongfully concealing or keeping in confinement, kidnapped or abducted person.||The same punishment as kidnapping or abduction|
|Kidnapping or abducting a child under ten years with the intent to steal from its person||Imprisonment- Extend to 7 years and fine|
Trafficking of a person – One of the offences against the human body is trafficking of a person, which means when a person recruits, harbours, transfers or receives any other person or group of people for exploiting them by using threats, force, abduction, fraud, abuse of power or inducing giving monetary benefits etc. It can be physical or sexual exploitation also involving slavery or organ selling. The consent given or not given does not matter here, it is still an offence. Punishment for trafficking is Rigorous imprisonment for not less than seven years extending up to 10 years along with a fine.
When a person engages a trafficked minor in sexual exploitation or any trafficked person in sexual exploitation the punishment shall be rigorous imprisonment for 5 to 7 years and 3 to 5 years respectively. Persons engaged in the habitual buying and selling of slaves are punished with imprisonment, not more than 10 years and a fine. This act also makes it punishable to compel any person against his will to labour.
There is a list of sexual offences against the body which are made punishable under this act. As per the recent Kerela High Court Judgement, sexual assault between thighs also amounts to rape. This was not covered under the definition of rape under IPC. As per the act, Rape means when a man penetrates his penis into the vagina, mouth or urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so, or inserts any such objects or manipulates any body part of women causing penetration in the vagina, mouth or urethra or anus of women or makes her to do so, without her consent or will or with consent but by putting someone she is interested or herself in fear of death or hurt, with or without consent when she is a minor or unable to communicate her consent. Punishment for rape is rigorous imprisonment for life-extending to 10 years along with a fine. Punishment for causing death or vegetative state of the rape victim is rigorous imprisonment for a term which is not less than twenty years, extend to imprisonment for life, which shall mean imprisonment for the remainder of that person’s natural life, or with death. As you can notice the punishments for sexual offences against the human body are more rigorous than the other offences. This is to make it more of a deterrent and preventive nature.
Lastly, Unnatural offences
Is also one of the offences against the human body, section 377 deals with it. It makes carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal punishable with imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine. This section was held unconstitutional by the supreme court in the case of Navtej Singh Johar v Union of India [AIR 2018 SC 4321].
As we saw there are various offences against the human body. The IPC is fairly framed. The graveness of the crime, the extent of harm, and proportionate punishments to such offences is what makes it very comprehensive and fair. Many times, the offence may escalate and turn into a different form. For example, an offence of kidnapping can turn into murder, assault, rape etc. The different punishments for such escalation of offences make these sections very deterrent, preventive and compensatory.