Karnataka High Court

Karnataka High Court: While considering the instant dispute wherein the petitioners challenged the registration of crime against them under Sections 323, 324, 341, 427, 504, 506 and 34 of Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) for use of pepper spray during a verbal and physical fight involving the respondents, the Bench of M. Nagaprasanna, J.*, took note of the facts in the instant case and relying upon precedents laid down by the Supreme Court, held that the 2nd Petitioner could not have used pepper spray as private defence, as prima facie there was no imminent threat or danger caused to her life. Therefore, it was pointed out that the case at hand would require investigation in the least.

The dispute between the parties arose when Respondent 2, who is a security guard, along with other security personnel, attempted to interfere in the physical and verbal altercation over a property dispute between the petitioners and a third person. During the quarrel, Petitioner 2 used pepper spray on the Respondent 2 as private defence.

A crime was registered against the petitioners after the afore-stated incident, aggrieved by which they approached the Court with the instant petition.

Counsel for the petitioners contended that the petitioners were forced to use pepper spray in their defence and the same is protected under Section 100 of IPC and that it was not used as a dangerous weapon. It was stated that on account of interference by the respondents, 2nd Petitioner was injured. It was argued that respondents registered the impugned crime after the petitioners had already registered their complaint. Crime registered by the petitioners is under investigation. It was stated that if the complaint is registered on mala fides, it must not be permitted to be investigated into.

Per contra, the respondents contended that right to private defence has been misused in the instant case, as there was no threat or danger to the life of the petitioners, but pepper spray was used only to cause injury to the respondent and others. The counsel argued that pepper spray is a dangerous weapon which would clearly come within the ingredients of Section 324 of the IPC.

Upon perusing the facts and contentions, the Court had to consider whether or not use its inherent power under S. 482, CrPC to quash the impugned crime registered by the respondents notwithstanding the fact that a counter case filed by the petitioners is being investigated into.

The Court noted that Section 324 of the IPC directs that whoever voluntarily causes hurt by means of any instrument for shooting, stabbing or any instrument of weapon which is likely to cause death would be committing the offence. The Court pointed out that pepper spray is undoubtedly a dangerous weapon, however, there is no determination by any law being laid down in India with regard to usage of pepper spray being dangerous weapon. However, the Court referred to a US Court decision in People v. Sandel1 where it was held that noxious chemical sprays, like pepper sprays are dangerous weapons.

Regarding private defence, the Court stated that the right to private defence, as was projected by the petitioners to defend their action, is a matter of evidence.

Based on the afore-stated assessment and relying on several precedents of the Supreme Court on private defence, the Court stated that the instant case requires investigation and any interference at this stage will run afoul of the Supreme Court’s decision in Kaptan Singh v. State of UP, (2021) 9 SCC 35. Therefore, the Court rejected the petition.

[C. Ganesh Narayan v. State of Karnataka, 2024 SCC OnLine Kar 48, decided on 22-04-2023]

*Order by Justice M. Nagaprasanna

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For petitioners- Sandesh J Chouta, Sr Advocate along with Krutika Raghavan, Advocate

Fore respondents- S.A. Ahmed, AAG A/W., Manjunath K., HCGP FOR R1; D.R. Ravishankar, Senior Advocate A/W., Manjunath K. V., Advocate FOR R2

Buy Penal Code, 1860   HERE

penal code, 1860

1. 84 N.Y.S. 3d 340 (N.Y. Sup.Ct.2018)

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.