Indian Penal Code (Cases relating to Mistake of Fact Sec. 79)

Prepared by Asisst. Professor Rekha Khandelwal

To read about Notes on Indian Penal Code Plz. click the link

Indian Penal Code Mistake of Fact Sec. 76 & 79

Cases relating to sec. 79

Raj Kapoor v. Laxman, AIR 1980 SC 605

 Section 79 makes an offence a non offence. Only when the offending act is actually justified by law or is bonafide believed by mistake of fact to be so justified. 

State of Orissa v. Bhagaban Barik, AIR 1987 SC 1265

 Under this section, although an act may not be justified by law, yet if it is  done under a mistake of fact, in the belief in good faith that it is justified by law it will not be an offence. In this case the accused struck a person with a full force Lathi blow thinking that he was a thief and he had to do so to safeguard his property. The incident took place outside the house near a pond. The place was away from the house. There being no occasion for private defence of property and the blow being  given on the head with severity. it was held that the accused was liable to be convicted under section 304 part 2. He was sentenced to three years RI.

 The question of good faith is always a question of fact to be determined in accordance with the proved facts and circumstances of each case.

Chiranji, (1952) Nag 348

 Where an accused owing to a defect in his vision and the effect of a fall Bonafide believed that his son of whom he was very fond was a tiger and caused  fatal injuries to him with an axe in a moment of delusion, he was protected under this section, and his act being done under a bona fIde mistake, he could not be convicted of an offence of murder.

Satyaveer Singh Rathi v. State Thr. CBI,AIR 2011 SC 1748 

Unprovoked firing by appellants who were police officials caused  death of two persons and grievous gun-shot injuries to another person. Seven police officers admitted firing into the vehicle. But the defence case was that they had done so only on the direction of ACP, a superior officer. The supreme Court held that it can not, by any stretch of imagination, be claimed by any body that a case of murder would fall within the expression ‘color of duty’. 

Mayer Hans George, (1964) 67 Bom LR, 583

For an Indian law to operate and be effective in the territory where it operates namely,  the territory of India, it is not necessary that it should either be published, or be made known outside the country.

Bailey’s Case, (1800) Russ.& Ry1.

Although a person commits an act which is made an offence for the first time by a statute so recently passed as to render it impossible that any notice of the passing of the statute could have reached the place where the offence has been committed, yet his ignorance of the statute will not save him from punishment.

Tustipada Mandal, (1950) Cut. 75.

Ignorance of the Municipal Law of the kingdom, or of the penalty thereby inflicted upon offenders, doth excuse any, that is of the age of discretion and compos mentis, from the penalty of the breach of it; because every person of the age of discretion and compos mentis is bound to know the law, and presumed so to do.

State of Orissa v. Khora Ghasi, 1978 CrLJ 1305 (Ori)

The accused while guarding his maize field shot an arrow at a moving object in the bona fide belief that it was a bear and in the process caused the death of a man who was hiding there. It wwas held that he could not be held liable for murder as his case was fully covered by section 79 as well as section 80 IPC, 1860.

To read about Notes on Indian Penal Code Plz. click the link

To read about Notes on Law of Torts Plz click the link

Ratanlal & Dheerajlal, ‘The Indian Penal Code’ 36th Edition Lexis Nexis

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