Force and Criminal Force in IPC
What’s force and criminal force under IPC?

In our day-to-day life, we usually see people hit one another and cause some sort of battery or assault or criminal force, and they move on. But sometimes, it goes to a major extent where people cause extreme injuries to one another in such a manner that a legal aspect impliedly intervenes. All they do is termed as force.

In simple terms, a force is a push or pull to an object. Though the Indian Penal Code similarly describes force, few conditions are added.

Section 299 to 377 of chapter 16 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, deals with the offences affecting the human body. One such offence is criminal force. To understand the concept of criminal force, let us look at the word force in IPC and create the difference between the two.

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Section 349 IPC – Force Defined

According to section 349 of the Indian Penal Code, when a person causes motion (to make someone move), change of motion (to change the direction or speed), or cessation in motion (to stop a moving person), it is called force.

Further, section 349 IPC says that there are three modes to use such force. Those are:

  1. By using one’s bodily power, that is, A with his hands pushes B from the top of the building. Here, A has used his bodily power.
  2. By disposing of any substance, that is, A throws water on B while he is sleeping. Here, A used a substance – water. It includes such contact that affects the sense of feeling.
  3. By inducing any animal, that is, A induces (makes) his dog bark on B and create annoyance. And the dog barks. Here, A has induced his dog.

Example: Rohan throws cold water on Pratap, his brother, while he is sleeping. Here, it is a use of simple force as it was unintentional nor harms or creates any legal injury to Pratap.

Ramakant Rajaram vs Manual Fernandes (1969): In this case, it was made clear that section 349 IPC uses the word ‘another.’ Thus, motion or change of motion or cessation of motion caused to property without affecting the human being is not the use of force to another within the meaning of this section. The force must be used with a human being and not an object.

Note: The above case is from the book PSA Pillai’s Criminal Law: Citation AIR 1969 Goa 45: (1969) Cr LJ 469 (Goa).

Section 350 IPC – Criminal Force Defined

Suppose Abdul intentionally and in a non-consensual way uses force on any other person to cause fear, injury, or annoyance to that person. Here, Abdul has committed the offence of criminal force.

Essentials of Section 350 IPC

The essentials of section 350 IPC which must be fulfilled for an action to be called criminal force are:

  1. There must be the intentional use of force on any person.
  2. Such force must be used without the consent of the person. Here, consent means as defined under section 90 of IPC.
  3. That such force should be used:
    • (a) to commit an offence, or
    • (b) to cause or knowingly to be likely to cause any injury, fear or annoyance to the person to whom the force is used.

Example: A is having a personal grudge to cause serious injuries to B. A pulls B’s chair when he is about to sit. As a result, B falls, causing him several fractures. Here, A with malice intent to cause injury to B committed the offence defined under section 350 IPC.

Bihari Lal vs Emperor (1934): In this case, the court held that the physical presence of the person is necessary and must be proved to prove criminal force.

Kalar Din vs Emperor (1941): In this case, the court held that criminal force must be directed against a person and not a thing.

Note: Bihari Lal vs Emperor case is from the book PSA Pillai’s Criminal Law: Citation AIR 1934 Lah 454: 152 Ind Cas 162.

Difference Between Force and Criminal Force

To meet the ends of justice, it is necessary to differentiate between force and criminal force.

Force: Defined in section 349 of IPC.
Criminal Force: Defined in section 350 of IPC.

Force: It does not create a substantive offence.
Criminal Force: It creates a substantive offence.

Force: Not punishable.
Criminal Force: Punishable under section 352 IPC.

Force: It does not cause any legal injury due to the absence of a mental element.
Criminal Force: Due to the presence of a mental element, it affects the legal injury.

Force: It is a species.
Criminal Force: It is a genus.

Read Next:
1. What to Do if Wife Forces You to Separate From Your Parents?
2. What Is the Punishment if Girl Slaps or Uses Force on a Person in Public?

Ankita Soni
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