Information in this document is being provided as-is without any warranty/guarantee of any kind. We have taken all reasonable measures to ensure the quality, reliability, and accuracy of the information in this document. However, we may have made mistakes and we will not be responsible for any loss or damage of any kind arising because of the usage of this information. Further, upon discovery of any error or omissions, we may delete, add to, or amend information on this website without notice.

This document is intended to provide information only. If you are seeking advice on any matters relating to information on this website, you should – where appropriate – contact us directly with your specific query or seek advice from qualified professional people.

We encourage you to take steps to obtain the most up-to-date information and to confirm the accuracy and reliability of any information on this website in general and this document in particular by directly communicating with us.

Q. Define Hurt and Grievous Hurt. Explain the difference.

In normal sense, hurt means to cause bodily injury and/or pain to another person. IPC defines Hurt as follows -

Section 319 - Whoever causes bodily pain, disease, or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt.

Based on this, the essential ingredients of Hurt are -
  1. Bodily pain, disease or infirmity must be caused -  Bodily pain, except such slight harm for which nobody would complain, is hurt. For example, pricking a person with pointed object like a needle or punching somebody in the face, or pulling a woman's hair. The duration of the pain is immaterial. Infirmity means when any body organ is not able to function normally. It can be temporary or permanent. It also includes state of mind such as hysteria or terror.
  2. It should be caused due to a voluntary act of the accused.
When there is no intention of causing death or bodily injury as is likely to cause death, and there is no knowledge that inflicting such injury would cause death, the accused would be guilty of hurt if the injury is not serious. In Nga Shwe Po's case 1883, the accused struck a man one blow on the head with a bamboo yoke and the injured man died, primarily due to excessive opium administered by his friends to alleviate pain. He was held guilty under this section.
The authors of the code have observed that in many cases offences that fall under hurt will also fall under assault. However, there can be certain situations, where they may not. For example, if A leaves food mixed with poison on B's desk and later on B eats the food causing hurt, it cannot be a case of assault.

If the accused did not know about any special condition of the deceased and causes death because of hurt, he will be held guilty of only hurt. Thus, in Marana Goundan's case AIR 1941, when the accused kicked a person and the person died because of a diseased spleen, he was held guilty of only hurt.

A physical contact is not necessary. Thus, a when an accused gave food mixed with dhatura and caused poisoning, he was held guilty of Hurt.

Grievous Hurt
Cases of severe hurt are classified under grievous hurt. The authors of the code observed that it would be very difficult to draw a line between hurt and grievous hurt but it was important to draw a line even if it is not perfect so as to punish the cases which are clearly more than hurt. Thus, section 320 of IPC defines Grievous Hurt as -

Section 320 - The following kinds of hurt only are designated as "Grievous" -
  1. Emasculation
  2. Permanent privation of the sight of either eye.
  3. Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear.
  4. Privation of any member or a joint.
  5. Destruction or permanent impairing of powers of any member or joint.
  6. Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.
  7. Fracture or dislocation of a bone or tooth.
  8. Any hurt which endangers life or which causes the sufferer to be, during the space of twenty days, in severe body pain or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits.

Thus, it can be seen that grievous hurt is a more serious kind of hurt. Since it is not possible to precisely define what is a serious hurt and what is not, to simplify the matter, only hurts described in section 320 are considered serious enough to be called Grievous Hurt. The words "any hurt which endangers life" means that the life is only endangered and not taken away. Stabbing on any vital part, squeezing the testicles, thursting lathi into rectum so that bleeding is caused, have all been held as Hurts that endanger life and thus Grievous Hurts.
As with Hurt, in Grievous Hurt, it is not a physical contact is not necessary. 

Difference between Hurt and Grievous Hurt
Only hurts that are defined in section 320 are called Grievous Hurt.
Punishment for voluntarily causing Hurt as defined in section 323 is imprisonment of either description up to 1 year and a fine up to 1000 Rs, while punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt is imprisonment of either description up to 7 years as well as fine.

Difference between Grievous Hurt and Culpable Homicide
The line separating Grievous Hurt and Culpable Homicide is very thin. In Grievous Hurt, the life is endangered due to injury while in Culpable Homicide, death is likely to be caused. Thus, acts neither intended nor likely to cause death may amount to grievous hurt even though death is caused.
In case of Formina Sbastio Azardeo vs State of Goa Daman and Diu 1992 CLJ SC, the deceased was making publicity about the illicit intimacy between N and W. On the fateful day, N, W, and her husband A caught hold of D and tied him up to a pole and beat him as a result of which he died. They were not armed with any dangerous weapon and had no intention to kill him. N and W were held guilty of only causing grievous hurt.