It is the first duty of man to help himself. The right of self-defense must be fostered in the Citizens of every free country. The right is recognized in every system of law and its extent varies in the inverse ratio to the capacity of the state to protect life and property of the subject( citizens).
A crime varies from place to place. There are 4 areas of threat: home, work, leisure and travelling in between. Let’s talk about travelling in between and being attacked when you are a pedestrian. There are primarily two common forms of attack:
The simple ‘Attention Diversion’ attack
As you walk down a street a man walks in front of you, stops you and asks for something or tells you that someone is in serious trouble and needs help. This ‘front-man’ is surely having a couple of other accomplices hiding behind you in the crowd. These accomplices are called ‘leg-men’.
If you ever stop and comply to the front-man and innocently engage with his request, say for example by taking out your wallet to give him change for Rs.500.00, the leg-man will snatch it away and disappear in the crowd.
The best thing to do when stopped by a stranger is to move on and never stand-still. Have a stern face and speak sternly. Never use your mobile phone when being a pedestrian. You will be distracted by the speaker on the other end of the phone-conversation and you certainly are ill-prepared to notice what’s happening in front of you.
‘Direct demand’ attack
In this scenario, the miscreants directly confront you in a dark lane or street, most often when you are alone as a pedestrian. Their demand is simple – hand over money and valuables. 99% of the time, you are forced to part with your valuable possession. Worst still, after robbing you, they will make you to turn and run while they just stand there bravely. A sure insult on your manliness which is quite humiliating for the rest of your life.
Remedial measures to stop trouble
The only sensible thing to do is to first understand both situations and how they work. Next, avoid such situations in the first place. Recommend you learn self-defense and try to reduce the harm that is being done to you in such an unfortunate situation.
IPC Sec: 96 to 106
Section 96 to 106 of the penal code states the law relating to the right of private defense of person and property. The provisions contained in these sections give authority to a man to use necessary force against an assailant or wrong-doer for the purpose of protecting one’s own body and property as also another’s body and property when immediate aid from the state machinery is not readily available and in so doing he is not answerable in law for his deeds. Section 97 says that the right of private defense is of 2 types:-
(i) Right of private defense of body,
(ii) Right of private defense of property.
Body may be one’s own body or the body of another person and likewise property may be movable or immovable and may be of oneself or of any other person. Self-help is the first rule of criminal law. The right of private defense is absolutely necessary for the protection of one’s life, liberty and property. It is a right inherent in a man. But the kind and amount of force is minutely regulated by law. The use of force to protect one’s property and person is called the right of private defense.
From the Act, Nature Of The Right
It is the first duty of man to help himself. The right of self-defense must be fostered in the Citizens of every free country. The right is recognized in every system of law and its extent varies in the inverse ratio to the capacity of the state to protect life and property of the subject( citizens). It is the primary duty of the state to protect the life and property of the individuals, but no state, no matter how large its resources, can afford to depute a policeman to dog the steps of every rouge in the country. Consequently this right has been given by the state to every citizen of the country to take law into his own hand for their safety. One thing should be clear that, there is no right of private defense when there is time to have recourse to the protection of police authorities. The right is not dependent on the actual criminality of the person resisted. It depends solely on the wrongful or apparently wrongful character of the act attempted, if the apprehension is real and reasonable, it makes no difference that it is mistaken. An act done in exercise of this right is not an offence and does not, therefore, give rise to any right of private defense in return.
Section 96. Things done in private defence:-
Nothing is an offence, which is done in the exercise of the right of private defence.
Right of private defence cannot be said to be an offence in return. The right of self-defence under Section 96 is not absolute but is clearly qualified by Section 99 which says that the right in no case extends to the inflicting of more harm than it is necessary for the purpose of defence.