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INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860- GENERAL EXCEPTIONS (SECTION 76 AND 79)

INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860

GENERAL EXCEPTIONS- MISTAKE OF FACTS

SECTIONS- 76 AND 79

Submitted By- Siddhant singh Submitted To- Ms. Divya Dwivedi

Course- BBA LLB[H] (Asst. Prof. Amity Law School, Lucknow)

Enrollment No.- A8121516030

Semester- 3rd

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INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860- GENERAL EXCEPTIONS (SECTION 76 AND 79)

INDEX

Content Page No.

General Exceptions- An Overview 3

Section 76 4

Essentials of Section 76 4

Mistake of Law 5

Distinction between Mistake of Fact and 5


Mistake of Law

Section 79 6

Distinction between Section 76 and 79 6

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INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860- GENERAL EXCEPTIONS (SECTION 76 AND 79)

General Exceptions: -

 CHAPTER IV talks about the general exceptions under the INDIAN PENAL CODE,
1860 commencing from section 76 to 106.
 CHAPTER IV consists of eight heads which are as :-
1. MISTAKE OF FACTS AND MISTAKE OF LAW discussed under section 76
and 79.
2. PRIVILEGED ACTS AND JUDICIAL ACTS discussed under section 77 and 78.
3. ACCIDENTAL ACTS discussed under section 80.
4. NECESSITY discussed under section 81.
5. INCAPABILITY TO COMMIT A CRIME discussed under section 82 to 86.
6. ACTS DONE WITH CONSENT discussed under section 87 to 90 and
WITHOUT CONSENT discussed under section 92.
7. TRIVIALITY discussed under ection 95.
8. PRIVATE DEFENCE discussed under section 96 to 106.
 Under this assignment I will be discussing about the general exceptions and particularly
the mistake of facts and mistake of laws.
 Acc. To the law, a person is punishable of the acts which he/she does or attempts to do
and those acts are prohibited by law or are punishable under the penal laws of India.
 These punishable laws are discussed under the INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860 which
provide for the punishments of certain acts done or attempting to be done by an
individual.
 As the word “exception” means “someone or something that is not included in
a rule, group, or list or that does not behave in the expected way”1 and thus there are
certain acts for which a person or a group of persons or an individual may take excuse
and held not punishable.
 Thus provisions under Chapter 4 of the INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860 exempts a
person for his wrongful acts.

1
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/exception

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INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860- GENERAL EXCEPTIONS (SECTION 76 AND 79)

Section 76: -
This section deals or talks about the Mistake of Fact where the said person is
bound by the law to perform a particular act.
The justification for exemption on the ground of mistake of fact is based on the
principle that, a man who is unaware or ignorance of a fact does not or cannot
form the mens rea or the guilty intention in the commission of a crime is not
responsible according to the law for his deeds.
For example, the act of a police official, Ram Avtar in arresting Raghuveer in the
place of Jaykant for whose arrest no warrant was issued, does not make him guilty
of wrongful confinement (Section 342 IPC). It was only after making reasonable
inquiries and on well-founded grounds when the Police Official, Ram Avtar was
convinced that Raghuveer was Jaykant, that he arrested Raghuveer. The Police
Official believed in good faith that he was bound by the Law to arrest Jaykant
because of the direction by the court of law, by issuing a warrant to arrest him.

 Essentials of Section 76: -


1. The state of things believed to exist would, if true have justified the act
done.
2. That the mistake must be reasonable.
3. That the mistake must relate to a fact and not law.
4. The belief must be a Bona Fide belief in good faith i.e., he/she must
believe himself or herself to be bound by law.

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INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860- GENERAL EXCEPTIONS (SECTION 76 AND 79)

In the case of Kochu Muhammad Kunju Ismail v. Mohammad Kadeja Ummr, the
accused, Mrs. Ummr was charged with bigamy under section 494 IPC, 1860 for
contracting a second marriage during the continuance of the first marriage. She was
acquitted on the grounds that she honestly and on reasonable grounds believed that she
had conducted a divorce from the complaint(husband), albeit the divorce was
unauthorized by the Mohammedan Law to which parties belonged.
It was held that if a person charged of committing a bigamy believed that he or she was
legally free to marry again, it cannot be said that the crime was committed wither
intentionally or recklessly.

 Mistake of Law: -
Mistake of Law means mistake as to the existence of the law on a relevant subject and
also as to what actually law is.
A Mistake or Ignorance of law, whether civil or criminal will not be considered defense
under The Indian Penal Code, 1860.
It concludes that, all the residents of a country whether subject or the foreigners are
bound by the law of Land.
The legal maxim, ignorantia facti excusat, ignorantia juris non excusat, states that
ignorance of fact excuses, ignorance of law does not excuse.

 Distinction between mistake of Fact and mistake of Law: -


1. Ignorance of Law is Mistake of Law whereas Ignorance of mere a fact is
Mistake of Fact.
2. Ignorance of Law is non- excusable whereas Ignorance of Fact is excusable
under the Indian Laws.

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INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860- GENERAL EXCEPTIONS (SECTION 76 AND 79)

Section 79 :-

This section deals or talks about Mistake of Fact where the said person is Justified by Law. This
section exempts a person from being criminally liable in those cases where by reason of a
Mistake of Fact in good faith, that the person considers himself justified by law to do an act in a
particular way.

In the case of Chirangi v. State, the appellant was given a benefit of section 79 of the IPC, 1860
and acquitted of the charge of murdering his son, aged 12 years under section 302 IPC, 1860.
The accused on the day when crime took place, took an axe and went with his son to a nearby
Hillock, known as Budra Mata in order to gather some leaves and he then killed his son. The
accused thought or perceived his son to be a tiger and thus killed him which was by a reason of
Mistake of Fact.

The court accordingly held that in the circumstances the accused was protected by the provisions
of section 79 of The Indian Penal Code, 1860.

 Distinction between Section 76 and Section 79 :-


1. Under section 76, there is a legal compulsion on the subject individual while under
section 79, the subject individual acts under justification.
2. Section 76, provides the subject individual with an exemption from criminal liability
when he believes himself to be bound by law to do a thing what he did whereas section
79 deals with cases whereby a person by the reason of mistake of fact feels himself to be
justified by law
3. Under section 76, a person acts because he believes he must act in a particular way
whereas under section 79, a person thinks he has justification for his action and acts
accordingly.

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