Battery Assault

Torts Against Person

Author: Nickkita Shome
Amity University, Kolkata

BATTERY : –

Intentional application of force without proper justification is termed as Battery. It does not involve bodily harm and causes least touching. Thus, Intentionally touching or using force on another person or things related to that person without their consent with the intention of harming that person is called a battery.

Battery is of two types-

  1. Criminal Battery
  2. Civil Battery

The criminal force which is defined in Section 350 of Indian Penal Code (IPC), is known as ‘battery’. It defines criminal force as –

Whoever intentionally uses force to any person, without that person’s consent, in order to the committing of any offence, or intending by the use of such force to cause, or knowing it to be likely that by the use of such force, he will cause injury, fear or annoyance to the person to whom the force is used, is said to use criminal force to that other.”[1]

  • Essentials of Battery –
  1. Hostile Intent
  2. Contact
  3. Harm
  4. No consent
  5. No lawful Jurisdiction

 

  • Remedies of Battery –
  1. Legal Remedies
  2. Restitutionary Remedies
  3. Equitable Remedies

 

ASSAULT : –

“Assault is an act of the defendant that causes the plaintiff to fear that the defendant will cause harm.” [2]Unlawful attempt to assault someone coupled with the present ability and immediate intent. In the case of assault, the charges must include offensive conduct that is offensive to or causes others to fear for their safety. Thus, Physical touching is not important but fear is important.

When the defendant commits his act with the apprehension in the plaintiff’s mind that he will cause physical harm to the plaintiff, assault will be committed.

 

  • Elements of Assault –
  1. An act or gesture or preparation which constituted a threat or force.
  2. A reasonable fear that the victim must reasonably believe that the defendant’s conduct will harm or humiliate them.
  3. There was a presence of sensible ability on the defendant’s part to carry out a threat into execution immediately.

However, a Conditional threat is not an assault.

 

  • Difference between Assault and Battery –
  1. Assault is an attempt to execute a battery when the battery involves the willful application of force against another person without any legal reason.
  2. The threat of violence is enough for assault. No physical contact is required while physical contact is required in the battery.
  3. In Assault, it creates reasonable apprehension in the plaintiff’s mind that immediate force will also be used. Whereas, in the case of the battery, there should be use of force as well as the same should be without any lawful justification.
  4. Assault is simply threatening a person whereas, the battery is to cause harm.
  5. Assault is no necessarily physical but the battery must be physical.

 

FALSE IMPRISONMENT: –  

The word ‘false’ in the false imprisonment denotes “unlawful character of the restraint” and the word ‘imprisonment’ denotes “total restraint”.  Wrongful imprisonment occurs when a person (without legal right or justification) intentionally prevents another from exercising his or her freedom. When a person intentionally restricts another’s freedom, he or she can be found guilty of false imprisonment in civil and criminal courts.

  • The factors which constitute false imprisonment are –
  1. Possible causes of imprisonment.
  2. Plaintiff’s knowledge for imprisonment.
  3. The defendant’s intention during the time of imprisonment or detention is important.

In criminal law, whether the binding is in whole or in part, it is responsible for prosecution. When the bond is complete and the person is prevented from going beyond certain limits, the violation is of ‘wrongful confinement’ as defined in Section 340 of IPC. When going to the police, it is enough to prove the false imprisonment to get the Writ of Habeas Corpus.

 

  • Elements of False Imprisonment –

To prove a false imprisonment, claim in a civil suit, the following elements must be proved :

  1. Wilful detention
  2. The intention factor of the defendant
  3. Knowledge of the plaintiff

In the case of Meering V. Graham White Aviation Company Ltd.,[3] the applicant is invited into the room with two police officers of the airline company. He asked why and said he would leave if not informed. When informed that he was suspected of a burglary, he agreed to stay and the construction police remained outside until the Metropolitan Police arrived. Unbeknownst to him, they were asked to stop him from leaving. The presumption that an act meets the requirement of coercive detention, even if the claimant did not know it at the time, still counts. Meering  is entitled to compensation.

 

  • Defence of false imprisonment –
  1. Valid Arrest
  2. Consent to Restraint
  3. Probable Cause

 

  • Remedies –

There are main remedies for false imprisonment, which can be classified as:

  1. Action for loss
  2. Nominal and compensatory damages
  3. Punitive, exemplary, and aggravated losses.
  4. Habeas Corpus
  5. Self-Help

 

DEFAMATION: –

Defamation is the generic term for a legal claim in which reputation is violated due to a false statement of fact and includes both libel ( defamation in written or fixed form ) and slander (spoken defamation ).  The crux of a defamation complaint is a lie. Honest statements that could damage the reputation of others do not create libel liability (although they may subject you to other forms of liability if the information you post highly personal or private).

The publication of a statement results in a person being often ignored in assessing, or avoiding or rejecting, an ideological member of society.

  • Essentials of Defamation –
  1. The defendant published the statement.
  2. The statement must be defamatory or false.
  3. The statement must refer to the plaintiff.

 

  • Innuendo –

An innuendo is a suggestion, or allusion to a person or thing, especially of an offensive nature. Sometimes a statement may appear innocent at first glance, but due to some underlying or secondary connotation, it may be considered offensive. When the natural and common sense is not defamation that the plaintiff wants to sue for defamation, he must demonstrate the underlying or secondary meaning, alluding to it, that gives the claim its character.

 

  • Defamation of the deceased –

Defaming a deceased person is no tort. However, there is an exception that under criminal law, however, I may amount to defamation to impute anything to a deceased person, if the imputation would harm the reputation of that person, if living, and is intended to be harmful or hurtful to the feelings of his family or other near relatives, according to Section 499 of IPC.

 

  • Defences –
  1. Justification
  2. Fare or Bona fide comment
  3. Privilege

 

NEGLIGENCE: –

Negligence is a breach of duty by failing to do something a reasonable man, guided by the considerations that normally govern human behaviour, would do, or do something a man would do. he prudent and reasonable would not do. Probable negligence is the negligence in the use of ordinary care or skill against a person for whom the respondent is obligated to observe the usual care or skill, whereby he or she leaves the injured plaintiff for their people or property.

  • Essentials –
  1. The defendant was under a legal duty to take reasonable care towards the plaintiff to avoid the damage complained of.
  2. The defendant made a breach of that duty.
  3. Due to breach of duty, the plaintiff suffered the damage as a consequence thereof.

 

  • Defence –
  1. Contributory Negligence
  2. Act of God
  3. Inevitable Accident

[1] Indian Penal Code, 1860

[2] Bavisetti Venkata Surya Rao vs Nandipati Muthayya, AIR 1964 AP 382

[3] Meering v Graham-White Aviation Co Ltd, (1920) 122 LT 44

 

 

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