SECTION 323 IPC - Indian Penal Code - Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt

Description of IPC Section 323

According to section 323 of Indian penal code, Whoever, except in the case provided for by section 334, voluntarily causes hurt, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both.


Offence : Voluntarily causing hurt

Punishment : 1 Year or Fine or Both

Cognizance : Non-Cognizable

Bail : Bailable

Triable : Any Magistrate

Section 323 IPC- Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt

Hurt usually relates to non-fatal offences which do not result in the death of any person. There are numerous ways in which a person may commit non-fatal offences against the society or an individual for example by causing bodily injury, destruction to property or infecting someone with a deadly disease, and the loss occurred is sometimes reparable but most of the times irreparable. This is why it is essential to be aware of the offenses which are termed as voluntarily causing hurt to someone and the punishment prescribed for it under the Indian Penal Code.

What is meant by hurt and voluntarily causing hurt?

According to section 319 of the Indian Penal code, when any person is involved in an act of causing bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any other person, such person is said to have caused hurt. In other words, hurting refers to an act of causing physical pain, injury or any disease to a person. It may be caused voluntarily or involuntarily. Hurt caused involuntarily does not attract any criminal charges as the person causing such hurt must not have the intention to cause the same. However, voluntarily causing hurt to a person have penal consequences under the Indian Penal Code and may require the help of a criminal lawyer to prosecute a person committing such an offence. The Indian Penal Code under section 321 defines voluntarily causing hurt as an act committed by a person with the knowledge that such an act may cause damage to the other person.

When is a person said to have caused hurt voluntarily?

Under section 323 of Indian Penal Code, when any person, except in the cases provided under section 334 (voluntarily causing hurt on provocation), commits an act with the knowledge that the commission of the same may cause damage to the other person, the person committing the act will be held liable for voluntarily causing hurt. Let us understand this with the help of an example.

In a case, an accused in the heat of an argument with his wife hit her on the head with an iron rod weighing around 200 grams, as a result of which she died. The medical evidence held it to be a simple injury that could not have possibly caused the death of the victim. Thus, in this case, the accused was only held liable for voluntarily causing hurt to the victim on the grounds that the accused did not have the intention to kill the victim but only to cause bodily injury.

Similarly, in a case where the accused pushed the chest of a person as a result of which the person fell down on a stone and died, the court held that the accused did not have the intention to cause death of the person and thus only held him liable under section 323 of IPC for causing hurt voluntarily.

Thus, the two essential ingredients of section 321 of IPC is, ‘intention’ to cause hurt and the ‘knowledge’ that the act is likely to cause hurt. If in any act of voluntarily causing hurt, intention and knowledge are not present on the part of the person committing the act, he cannot be charged for causing hurt voluntarily under the Indian Penal Code.

Causing hurt voluntarily due to sudden provocation

As stated above, voluntarily causing hurt is a punishable crime under section 323 of the Indian Penal Code. However, if hurt is voluntarily caused due to grave and sudden provocation as provided for under section 334 of the Indian Penal Code, the offender will be legally responsible under section 334 and not under section 323 of the Indian Penal Code and will be liable to be punished with imprisonment of one month along with fine of Rs. 500.

Punishment under section 323

When a person commits an offence of voluntarily causing hurt as mentioned under section 321 of IPC, he will be liable to be punished for a term up to 1 year and fine which may extend up to Rs. 1000.  The extent of punishment under this section will depend upon the seriousness of the offence.

Nature of the offence

The offence of voluntarily causing hurt is a non-cognizable offence, meaning thereby if a person has committed an offence under this section the police cannot arrest such a person without a warrant. An offence under this section is bailable in nature and is liable to be investigated and decided by the Magistrate who is having authority over the area where such offence has been committed.

Is it important to hire a lawyer for cases related to section 323?

Having a lawyer to defend you is a right. This is why, if you cannot afford an attorney, the court can appoint one for you. A person can also renounce this right and can even represent himself in his own criminal case. However, this is not recommended especially in a case where your charges are severe and you can possibly face jail time, such as the one mentioned under section 323 of IPC. 

Even if you believe you have committed the crime and you wish to plead guilty, it is extremely important to consult an experienced criminal advocate before responding to any criminal prosecution. At the very minimum, a skilled attorney can ensure that the charges against you are appropriate given the facts of the case and advocate on your behalf to receive the lowest possible penalty.

Being charged with a crime, such as the one under section 323, is a serious matter. A person facing criminal charges risks severe penalties and consequences, such as jail time, having a criminal record, loss of relationships and future job prospects, among other things. While some legal matters can be handled alone, a criminal arrest of any nature warrants the legal advice of a qualified criminal defense attorney who can protect your rights and secure the best possible outcome for your case.

FAQ's on IPC Section 323

What offence is defined under IPC 323?

IPC 323 Offence: Voluntarily causing hurt.

What is the punishment for IPC 323 Case?

The punishment for IPC 323 is 1 Year or Fine or Both.

Is IPC 323 cognizable offence or non-cognizable offence?

IPC 323 is a Non-Cognizable.

How to file/defend your case for IPC 323 offence?

Use LawRato for filing/defending your case under IPC 323 with the help of best criminal lawyers near you.

Is IPC 323 bailable or non-bailable offence?

IPC 323 is a Bailable offence.

In what court can IPC 323 be tried?

IPC 323 is tried in the court of Any Magistrate.

See the video below to know more about IPC Section 323 charges, punishment and relief

Legal Questions Answered by Top Lawyers on IPC 323

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