I am caught in a street fight? Am I guilty?
When two or more persons, by fighting in a public place, disturb the public peace, they are said to commit ‘affray’.
Section 159 of the Indian Penal Code makes an ‘Affray’ punishable with imprisonment of one month or with fine of Rs. 100. It is a cognisable and bailable offence under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
Fights over petty issues are a common occurrence in everyday life. They may happen anywhere – inside the house or in the street. Any fight in a public place such as markets, fairs, roads and restaurants will amount to an ‘Affray’ under Section 159 of the IPC.
The ingredients of the offence of ‘Affray’ are as under:
- That Accused and another person were fighting;
- The fight was in a public place;
- The public peace was disturbed.
Any offence of Affray can be reported to the nearest police station or by dialing ‘100’ and summoning the cops. It is advisable to report such offences at the earliest to avoid the situation turning dangerous.
I am hurt. What law helps me?
Under Section 319 IPC, whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt. Thus, any beating, thrashing or armed assault that causes pain, injury or disease to any person amounts to committing the offence of ‘Hurt’ under Section 319.
Causing hurt to a person is punishable with imprisonment for one year or one thousand rupees fine or both.
There is a stark difference between hurt and grievous hurt though. The offence of ‘Grievous Hurt’ is defined under Section 320 IPC which defines the following kinds of physical injuries:
- Permanent privation of the sight of either eye.
- Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear.
- Privation of any member or joint.
- Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint.
- Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.
- Fracture or dislocation of bone or tooth.
- Any hurt which endangers life, or which causes the sufferer to be, during the space of twenty days, in severe bodily pain, or unable to follow his ordinary pursuit.
Any person causing ‘grievous hurt’ to another will be punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years.