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SC sets guidelines for right of private defence
November 08, 2005 23:33 IST
Cautioning that there should not be hyper-technical approach in considering the plea of 'right of private defence', the Supreme Court has held that such defence cannot be claimed when the accused are aggressors.
"All circumstances are required to be viewed with pragmatism and any hyper-technical approach should be avoided," a Bench, comprising Justice S B Sinha and Justice R V Raveendran, said, elaborating the grounds under which an accused can be entitled to claim right of private defence.
A plea of private defence would not be available if the accused persons prepare themselves for a fight and provoke a party resulting in quarrel.
The court said private defence could be used to ward off, prevent and avoid unlawful detention and to escape from such detention.
The court clarified the law on private defence while dealing with the case of West Bengal, in which a group of persons had fought with another group over an agricultural land. One person was killed and several received injuries from deadly weapons.
The Bench said so far as defence of land against the trespasser was concerned, a person was entitled to use necessary and moderate force, both for preventing the tresspass or to eject the tresspasser.
"For the said purpose, the use of force must be minimum necessary or reasonably believed to be necessary. A reasonable defence would mean a proportionate defence," Justice Sinha, writing the judgement for the Bench said.