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Causing hurt or grievous hurt by endangering life or personal safety of others (Section 336, 337 & 338 of IPC)

1. Act endangering life or personal safety of others (Sec. 336)

“Whoever does any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to two hundred and fifty rupees or with both”.

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2. Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others (Sec. 337)

“Whoever causes hurt to any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees, or with both”.

3. Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others (Sec. 338)

“Whoever causes grievous hurt to any person by doing any act so rashly or negligently as to endanger human life, or the personal safety of others, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both”.

The essential ingredients of these sections are as follows:

i) The act of the accused must have resulted in simple or grievous hurt;

ii) The act must be done in a rash and negligent manner;

iii) The rashness or negligence must be to the extent of endangering human life or personal safety of others.

These sections will be applicable only in cases where the hurt caused is a direct result of the negligence or rash act. Mere negligence or rashness is not enough to bring a case within the ambit of Section 337 or Section 338. Negligence or rashness proved by evidence must be such as should necessarily carry with it a criminal liability.

Whether such liability is present may depend on the degree of culpability having regard in each case to the particular time, place and circumstances. If it is merely a case of compensation or reparation for injury or damage caused to a person or property, it is clearly not punishable under either of the sections.

The culpability to be criminal should be such as concerns not merely the person injured or property damaged but the safety of the public on the road. But the nature and extent of the injury or damage will be irrelevant in fixing criminal liability for negligence under these sections.

Offence under Section 336 is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months or with fine which may extend to Rs. 250 or with both. Offence under Section 337 is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to six months, or with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees or with both.

Offence under Section 338 is punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to two years, with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or both.

Offences under Sections 336, 337 and 338 are cognizable and liable: Offence under Section 336 is non-compoundable, whereas under Sections 337 and 338 are compoundable. Offences under Sections 336, 337 and 338 are triable by any Magistrate.

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