If anyone comes and hurts you intentionally, what would you do at that moment? Will you wait for the police to come and rescue you? Will you go to the court next morning and sue that offender? Under the law of our country, you need not to endure the harm and redress it afterwards.
You may resist and hurt the offender back right away with a view to defending yourself. You are legally entitled to do so without breaking any law because the law is on your side.
One thing to note is that the Penal Code terms the action private defence, not self defence. Here is a brief explanation of the laws relating to private defence.
1. Nothing is an offence which is done in the exercise of the right of private defence, says Section 96 of the Penal Code.
2. Section 97 of the same code further clarifies the provision and says, every person has a right to defend (i) his own body, and the body of any other person against any offence affecting the human body and (ii) the property, whether moveable or immovable, of himself or of any other person, against any act of theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass. The right to self defence remains the same aganist an attempt to commit theft, robbery, mischief or criminal trespass.
3. Section 100 of the Penal Code further broadens the right and maintains that one may actually go to the extent of killing someone in exercising his/her private defence. The section says, the right of private defence of the body ex-tends to the voluntary causing of death or of any other harm to the assailant, if the offence which gives rise the exercise of the right against any of the assaults mentioned below:
a) Such an assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that death will otherwise be the consequence of such assault
b) Such an assault as may reasonably cause the apprehension that grievous hurt will otherwise be the consequence of such assault
c) an assault with the intention of committing rape
d) an assault with the intention of gratifying unnatural lust
e) an assault with the intention of kidnapping or abducting
f) an assault with the intention of wrongfully confining a person, under circumstances which may reasonably cause him to apprehend that he will be unable to have recourse to the public authorities for his release.
4. Section 103 talks of right to defend one's property. According to this section, the right of private defence of property extends to the voluntary causing of death or of any other harm to the wrong-doer, if the offence, the committing of which, or the attempting to commit which gives rise the exercise of the right, be an offence of any of the descriptions given below:
b) house-breaking by night
c) mischief by fire committed on any building, tent or vessel, which building, tent or vessel is used as a human dwelling or as a place for the custody of property
d) theft, mischief or house-trespass, under such circumstances as may reasonably cause apprehension that death or grievous hurt will be the consequence, if such right of private defence is not exercised.
5. Finally, section 102 talks of the commencement and continuation of the right of private defence. It says, the right of private defence of the body commences as soon as a reasonable apprehension of danger to the body arises from an attempt or threat to commit the offence though the offence may not have been committed and it continues as long as such apprehension of danger to the body continues.Conditions
a) Section 99 of the Penal Code deals with conditions to be fulfilled while exercising one's right of private defence.
b) There is no right of private defence against an act which does not reasonably cause the apprehension of death or of grievous hurt, if done, or attempted to be done by a public servant acting in good faith under colour of his office, though that act may not be strictly justifiable by law.
c) There is no right of private defence in cases in which there is time to have recourse to the protection of the public authorities.
The right of private defence in no case extends to the inflicting of more harm than it is necessary to inflict for the purpose of defence.