Introduction - 

     Accidents may be one of the most common and unfortunate reasons for damages to property, injuries to people and loss of life. Indian Penal Code Section 80 speaks about 'Accident' Section 80 of the Code states that nothing is an offence which is done by accident or misfortune and without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means and with proper care and caution.

Accident Meaning and Definition - 

     An accident is an unforeseen and unintentional event that occurs and causes harm or damage. It is a sudden and unexpected event that happens without anyone intending it to happen. Accidents can range in severity from minor to major, and they can involve people, animals, or property. Accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, such as human error, mechanical failure, natural disasters, or a combination of these factors. The term "accident" is often used to refer to car accidents, but it can also refer to any other type of unexpected and unintended event that causes harm or damage.

Accident in doing a lawful act.— 

   As per Section 80 of the Indian Penal Code, nothing is an offence which is done by accident or misfortune, and without any criminal intention or knowledge in the doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means and with proper care and caution.

Illustration

    A is at work with a hatchet; the head flies off and kills a man who is standing by. Here, if there was no want of proper caution on the part of A, his act is excusable and not an offence.

Conditions - 

For the application of this section, the following conditions must be fulfilled:

1) The act must be an accident (or misfortune);

2) It must have been done without criminal intention or knowledge;

3) It must be lawful, must have been done in a lawful manner and by lawful means; and

4) It must have been done with proper care and caution.

Lawful act, lawful manner and lawful means -

The section (Section 80) requires "doing of a lawful act in a lawful manner and by lawful means'. All three ingredients should be present so as to enable the doer of the act to claim the benefit of this provision. If the act is not lawful or is not done in a lawful manner or by lawful means, Section 80 has no application and the accused must be held guilty. 

Proper care and caution - 

    Section 80 requires "proper care and caution". The amount of care and caution should be "reasonable", i.e. must be such as to be taken by a reasonable and prudent man in the circumstances of a particular case.

     Whether the doer of an act had taken proper care and caution must be decided having regard to the facts and circumstances of each case and no rule of universal application can be laid down.

See Also...

Secure Electronic Records and Secure Electronic Signature (IT Act 2000)

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