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Right of Private Defense

Harm to innocent person

Right of private defence against deadly assault when there is risk of harm to innocent person

If in the exercise of the right of private defence against an assault which causes reasonable apprehension of death, the defender be so situated that he cannot effectuate the right without causing harm to innocent persons, then his right of private defence extends to the running of that risk.

For Example: Z, is attacked by a mob who attempts to murder him. He cannot effectually exercise his right of private defence without firing on the mob, and he cannot fire without risk of harming young children who are mingled with the mob. Z commits no offence if by so firing he harms any of the children.


Whoever causes harm to innocent person in the exercise of the right of private defence shall be punished depending upon the reasonable apprehension of death to the person concerned, and will depend upon the discretion of the court.

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