‘Consent’ Section 87 of IPC – Explained!

Nothing is an offence which is not intended to cause death or grievous hurt; if the person to whom such hurt is caused being above the age of eighteen years has expressly or impliedly consented to suffer harm, or to take the risk of any harm (Section 87).

This rule is founded upon two very simple propositions: (1) that every person is the best judge of his own interest; (2) that no man will consent to what he thinks harmful to himself. Ordinarily games, such as fencing, boxing, football and the like are protected under this section.

For example, A and Z agree to fence with each other for amusement. This agreement implies the consent of each to suffer any harm which, in the course of such fencing, may be caused without foul play; and if A, while playing fairly, hurts Z, A commits no offence.

But this section will not apply where the act itself is prohibited by law, e.g., duelling though it may be done with consent and in a fair manner. Though in the acts so exempted there may be a possibility of harmful results, at the time of doing them; they must not be known to be likely to cause death or grievous hurt.

Illustrative Cases:

(i) Ngwarkin:

A, a middle-aged man, believed himself to have been rendered dah proof by charms and asked B to try a dah on his right arm. B believed in the pretence of A and inflicted a blow with a dah with moderate force; the result was that the arteries were cut and A bled to death.

The Appellate Court set aside the conviction under Section 304 of the Code and held that the case was governed by Sections 87 and 90, and that B had no intention of causing death or grievous hurt and that he might not even have known that his act was likely to cause any such result.

(ii) Bishambher:

The complainant was taken by a self-constituted panchayat round the village with a blackened face and was given a shoe-beating. The Court held that the action of the accused in enforcing the decision of the panchayat cannot be an offence.

The accused persons acted bona fide without any criminal intent, in order to save the complainant from serious consequences, resulting from his own indecent behaviour, with his consent obtained in writing and for his benefit.

Submitted by : Dr. Ganga, Category : Knowledge