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Causing hurt or grievous hurt to deter public servants (Section 332 & 333 of IPC)

1. Voluntarily causing hurt to deter public servant from his duty (Sec. 332)

“Whoever voluntarily causes hurt to any person being a public servant in the discharge of his duty as such public servant, or with intent to prevent or deter that person or any other public servant from discharging his duty as such public servant, or in consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by that person in the lawful discharge of his duty as such public servant, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.”

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2. Voluntarily causing grievous hurt to deter public servant from his duty (Sec. 333)

“Whoever voluntarily causes grievous hurt to any person being a public servant in the discharge of his duty as such public servant, or with intent to prevent or deter that person or any other public servant from discharging his duty as such public servant, or in consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by that person in the lawful discharge of his duty as such public servant, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

The following are the essential ingredients of Sections 332 and 333:

i) The offender should voluntarily cause hurt or grievous hurt to a public servant;

ii) It should be caused:

a) When the public servant acted in discharge of his duties;

b) To prevent or deter that public servant or any other public servant from discharging his duty; or

c) In consequence of anything done or attempted to be done by the public servant in the discharge of his duty.

The term ‘public servant’ is defined under Section 21 of the Code (Refer Unit-I of this Text). Sections 332 and 333 apply only if the public servant was acting in the discharge of his duty as a public servant or it should be proved that it was the intention of the accused to prevent or deter the public servant from discharging his duty.

The expression ‘in discharge of his duty as such public servant’ means in the discharge of a duty imposed by law on such public servant in the particular case, and does not cover an act done by him in good faith under colour of his office. The duty need not be to do a specific act.

‘Prevention’ refers to a stage when the execution of the duty is entered upon; ‘deter’ refers to a stage when it has not been yet entered upon.

“Or any other public servant” means that the intention of the assault or hurt must be to checkmate either the sufferer or another public servant entrusted with the same mission and then in the execution of his duty.

“Or in consequence of anything done” in which case the assault would be committed by way of retaliation. These words show that the offence under the section can be committed not only when a person is assaulted while he is discharging a public duty but also when he is assaulted in consequence of the discharge of his duty.

Section 353 of the Code too deals with criminal assault on public servant to deter him from discharge of his duty.

Persons other than public servants who may accompany them for aid and guidance are not entitled to claim special protection under Sections 332 and 333.

The offence under Section 332 is cognizable and warrant should ordinarily issue in the first instance. It is non-bailable and not compoundable and is triable by a Magistrate of the first class. The offence under Section 333 is cognizable, but warrant should ordinarily issue in the first instance. It is both non-bailable and non-compoundable, and exclusively triable by the Court of Sessions.

Punishment under Section 332 is imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine or with both. Punishment under Section 333 is imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

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