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IPC (Accident Sec. 80) – Notes-Indian Penal Code ( Accident Sec. 80)

IPC (Accident Sec. 80) relates to Accident in doing a lawful act

IPC ( Accident Sec. 80) Notes-Indian Penal Code ( Accident Sec. 80) in doing lawful act

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Notes-Indian Penal Code ( Accident Sec. 80) in doing lawful act

IPC Chapter – IV General Exception

IPC ( Accident Sec. 80)

Prepared by Asisst. Professor Rekha Khandelw

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Chapter IV of Indian Penal Code, 1860 states following acts which are exempted under the code from criminal liability where the accused is not charged of the crime committed.

Accident ( Section 80)-Accident in doing a lawful act.

  • Whenever Any act is done
    • Accidentally/misfortunately
    • Without criminal intention or knowledge
    • At the time of doing lawful act
    • In a lawful manner
    • By lawful means
    • And with proper care & caution, Then the act shall not be an offence

If above conditions are fulfilled in doing any act then the act is exempted under the code from criminal liability where the accused is not charged of the crime committed. As the act shows absence of mens rea i.e. guilty mind. While Actus rea and mens rea are two essential elements to impose criminal liability on accused.

According to Principle of criminal liability in IPC which is basis on latin maxim “Actus non faciet reum nisi mens sit rea”


P is working with a hatchet.  Suddenly, The head flies off and kills a man who is standing by. If there was no want of proper caution on the part of P in that situation, his act is excusable and not an offence.


Atmendra v. State of Karnataka,(1)

An accident is something that happens out of the ordinary course of things.

Sukhdev Singh v. Delhi State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi),

This section exempts the doer of an innocent or lawful act in an innocent or lawful manner. If he does the act without any criminal intention or knowledge then would not be liable for  any unforeseen evil result that may ensue from accident or misfortune. if either of these elements is missing the act is not to be executed on the ground of accident.

 Atmendra v. State of Karnataka,(3)

To claim the benefit of the provision it has to be shown that the act in question was without any criminal intention or knowledge, that the Act was being done in a lawful manner by lawful means, and that act was being done with proper care and caution. 

Patreswar Basumatary v. State of Assam, (4)

Where two brothers were sleeping together and one of them while in a state of semi- sleep felt that somebody was throttling him, picked up the dao, kept on the head of the bed and and administered a blow which was received by his sleeping brother who died,  there being neither intention nor motive, the accused was let off under this section. His act was not voluntary.

Dr. Suresh Gupta v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi,(5)

To prosecute a medical professional for negligence under criminal law it must be shown that the accused did something or failed to do something which in the given facts and circumstances no other medical professional in his ordinary senses and prudence would have done or failed to do.  The danger taken by the accused doctor must  be of such a nature that the injury which resulted was most likely imminent.

Shankar Narayan Bhadolkarkar v. State of Maharashtra, (6)

 Where the act done by accused is itself of criminal nature, the protection of this section cannot be availed. In this case, the accused picked up his gun, unlocked it,  loaded it with cartridges, aimed at the chest of the victim from a close range of 4-5 feet and  shot it. Quite naturally this section was held to be not applicable. There could be no suggestion of an accident. 

K.M.Nanavati v. State of Maharashtra,(7)

In the case , It is held that the section does not affect the burden that lies on the prosecution to prove all the ingredients of the offence with which the accused is charged and the burden never shifts.

(1) 1998 CrLJ 2838

(2) AIR 2003 SC 3716,

(3) 1998 CrLJ 2838 : 

(4) 1989 CrLJ 196 (Gau).

(5) 2004 AIR SCW 4442

(6) AIR 2004 SC 1966

(7) AIR 1962 SC 605 

IPC ( Accident Sec. 80)

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