Good Faith under Indian Penal Code

Introduction

Good faith literally means honestly and sincere intention. We generally define it as not evil or what is not bad for somebody. Good faith holds a very important role under the IPC but it is not properly defined in it. Throughout the IPC it is defined in a very negative way. It holds so much importance under IPC because the intention of a person is very important to determine whether he will be accused of the crime he has committed or not. So if the intention is bad obviously the accused will be held liable. 

Good faith under IPC

Good faith is defined in the Indian penal code under Section 52. Nothing is said to be done or believed without due care and attention. Generally, in IPC or other criminal laws when an act is down in good faith without any wrong intention or evil motive then it served to be a good defense. The expression ‘with due care and attention’ is used in this section and not defined anywhere else. Based on the section the intention of the person doing an offense is really very important. An act done in good faith and good intention can be used as a defense. The principle of this act is totally to analyze the situation and circumstances of the situation when a particular offence is done. So that nobody should be falsely accused. 

Essentials of good faith 

  • A good intension
  • Reason
  • Basic manual capacity and intellect 
  • Due or reasonable care

These are the basic point A to determine whether the particular act can have a defense.

Plea of good faith as defense:

  • Act done by a person who by reason of a mistake of fact, in good faith, believes himself to be bound by law to do it. (Section 76)

“Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who is, or who by reason of a mistake of fact and not by reason of a mistake of law in good faith believes himself to be, bound by law to do it.” 

For example, A, a soldier, fires on a mob by the order of his superior officer, in conformity with the commands of the law. A has committed no offence.

  • Act of a judge when acting judicially in the exercise of power which in good faith he believes to be given by law. (Section 77)

“Nothing is an offence which is done by a Judge when acting judicially in the exercise of any power which is, or which in good faith he believes to be, given to him by law.”

  • Act done by a person who by reason of a mistake of fact in good faith believes himself to be justified by the law in doing it. (Section 79)

“Nothing is an offence which is done by any person who is justified by law, or who by reason of a mistake of fact and not by reason of a mistake of law in good faith, believes himself to be justified by law, in doing it.”

  • An act not intending to cause death done by consent in good faith for a person benefit. (Section 88)

Section 88 of IPC defines that when there is no intention to cause death by the does but by any such reason it may cause harm or it may be intentionally caused by the doer knows that this act is likely to cause harm or even death but it has to be done for the benefit of the person and is done in good faith there is no evil intention. Also, the person has given his consent to take the risk for his own benefit then it would not be an offense. Any harm is done by that act will not be considered as an offense. This act was basically made for the safety of the medical practitioners so that they should not be held liable for any offense like this also it is important that the medical professionals should also perform their duty properly with due care and responsibility. Otherwise, they also can be held liable.

Example:  A is a surgeon, knows that B is suffering from cancer, and performing the particular operation may result in the death of B, but there is no intention of causing death. B knowing this gives his consent for his own benefit to performing the operation. Here if something happens to B, A had not committed a crime.

  • Section 89 of IPC:

 It deals with the children below the age group of 12 years of age and also persons of unsound mind and because they don’t have the mental capacity to give consent as there are unable of understanding the nature of the act or the whole situation. Hence, the consent is given by their guardians on their behalf. The doer has to act in good faith without any evil intention and for the benefit of the person harmed.

Exceptions:

  • Any act done shall not extend to intentional causing of death, an attempt to cause death.
  • Any act was done by a person when he was aware of the fact that his act which is likely to cause death unless it is done got the prevention of death or grievous hurt.
  • Any act voluntarily causing grievous hurt or attempted to cause any grievous hurt.
  • Section 92 of IPC: Act done in good faith for the benefit of a person even without that person’s consent. 

 Nothing is an offence by reason of any harm which may cause to a person for whose benefit it is done in good faith without any Evil intention or even without the person’s consent if the circumstances are such that it is impossible for the person to signify consent for that person is incapable of given consent and has no guardian or other person in lawful charge of him for whom it is possible to obtain consent in time for the thing to be done with benefit. This section defines an act that if an act done is not a crime if :

  • Any harm is caused to the person for whose benefit the act was done in good faith without his consent.
  • The circumstances are such that it is impossible for the person to give consent or signify the importance of the situation. 
  • The person has no legally appointed guardian or any other person to give consent on his behalf.

Essentials of Section 92 are:

  • There must be good faith when the act is done.
  • An act is done for the benefit of the person who suffers harm.
  • There was no guardian or any other person to obtain consent.
  • There was no time to obtain consent.
  • There must be no evil intention.
  • The benefit of the person should be secured

Exceptions of Section 92 are: 

  • This act should not lead to any extreme intentional causing of death or attempt to cause death.
  • The act should not lead to any voluntarily causing grievous hurt or even attempting to cause hurt.
  • The doer should not enhance his act in order to instigate or abet any person to make his commit an offense.
  • If the doer knows that such an act if done then the result is likely to cause death then he cannot be benefited under this action.

Illustration:

  • A was driving and suddenly his car crashed into a bus and become unconscious due to several injuries. ‘B’ a surgeon finds that a surgery has to be done otherwise A will die. So ‘B’ without the consent of A but totally in good faith and for his benefit performs surgery. Here ‘B’ has not committed a crime.
  • A was carried off by a tiger. B saw this and fires a shot at the Tiger knowing that firing at the tiger can kill A but he does it in good faith in order to save A from the attack of the tiger. The bullet fired injured A. Here B has not committed any offense 
  • A is in a house which is on fire with her child. There are few people outside holding a blanket to save both of them. From the top A drops the child knowing that this action is likely to cause the death of the baby but not intending to kill and in good faith A drops her child to save him in good faith. Here if something happens to the baby A has not committed any offense and will not be held guilty.
  • Communication made in good faith even though harm may ensue to the person to whom it is made for the benefit of that person. (S.93)

It states that if anything is communicated to someone else in good faith and for the benefit of that person them it is not an offense even if the communication the persons suffer any harm.

Dasrath Paswan v. State (1957)

Facts: The accused was a student of class 10. He failed in his exam.  he has a wife aged 19 years. he decided to end his life and told about his decision to his wife . his wife asked her to kill herself first and then to kill himself. The accused killed his wife but before he would kill himself he was arrested.

Judgment: The court held that  deceased does not give her consent under the misconception of fact or under the feat of injury and therefore he is entitled to take the benefit of this exception

Conclusion: According to the above discussion, we understand how a person is protected from any type of criminal liability when he causes or takes the risks of injury with or without the consent of the sufferer as he acted totally in good faith and for the benefit of the person harmed. But there are several exceptions here too like any act should not exceed death or any serious bodily injury. Also, the interpretation of good faith for our own understanding is easy while we compare it with the behaviors but it becomes difficult to define it in words as we have a tendency to say that what is not morally wrong or bad is good but nowhere the term good faith is particularly and in a simple language defined. Apart from having a relevance of good faith in the IPC, it has also been seen it’s the significance in contract law.

References:

Questions:

  1. Define good faith under IPC.
  2. Define the scope of Section 92.
  3. What are the essentials of good faith?
  4. List the exceptions of Section 89.
  5. Give one illustration for an act done in good faith for the benefit of the person without his consent.

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