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The right of private defence & its cardinal principles


India is the second largest country in population with 135.26 crore people (2018) and it is the duty of the state to ensure protection of their life, property and personal liberty. But how can a State protect 135.26 crore people? 

It’s obvious that the state delegates responsibilities and authorities to the Police officers and administrative department. But is it possible for them to protect each individual? 

According to the data, there are 125 police officers in India for every 1,00,000 people. So, how is it possible for them to protect every individual. Therefore, the right of private defence of person and property is given to every individual against the aggressor, a person of unsound mind, intoxicated person but it is subject to some restrictions. Even after recruitment of more police officers, a person must get a right of private defence because self help is the first rule of the criminal law. 

Section 96 of Indian Penal Code

Right of private defence doesn’t mean a person will inflict any harm to another person just because he has a right of private defence. It is admissible that the right of private defence is absolutely necessary but with certain restrictions otherwise a person will commit offence and will take the plea of right to private defence. Section 96 of Indian Penal Code states that things done in private defence is not an offence. In addition, a person can exercise right of private defence and injury inflicted should be reasonable.

Cardinal principles of law of private defence 

The right of private defence is based on two cardinal principles – 

  • Every individual has the right to defend his own body along with others and right to defend his property as well as others property. 
  • A person doesn’t have absolute right, it is subject to restrictions otherwise, as a person can inflict which is necessary at that point of time.