Criminal Law


Assault is an act of one person causing another person to reasonably apprehend the infliction of criminal force against him. In Criminal Law, assault is considered as an offence and in Common Law, it is considered as a tort. But, in both the cases assault is considered as an act of threat by one person to cause harm to another person.

The Indian Penal Code, 1860 classifies assault as an offence under Chapter XVI which deals with offences affecting the human body. Section 351 of IPC defines assault as an offence and Section 352 of IPC prescribes punishment for the offence of assault.

Essentials of Assault

Section 351 specifies certain essential elements in order to constitute an offence of assault -

Any gesture or any preparation
Such gesture or preparation is intending or knowing it to be likely to cause any person to apprehend use of criminal force against him.

Punishment of assault

Section 352 of IPC provides for the punishment in cases of assault or use of criminal force.

General Rule
The punishment shall be imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 months or fine which may extend to five hundred rupees or both.

Assault or use of criminal force made under grave and sudden provocation given by the person apprehending such an offence. Further, the explanation to Section 352 of IPC prescribes that whether the provocation was grave and sudden enough to mitigate the offence is a question of fact.

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