Section 304A of Indian Penal Code, 1860 – Explained!
By Pinki Sarkar
Legal Provisions of Section 304A of Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Causing death by negligence:
This section punishes causing death by a rash or negligent act. It says that whoever causes the death of any person by doing either any rash act or any negligent act, and such rash or negligent act does not amount to either culpable homicide amounting to murder or culpable homicide not amounting to murder, shall be punished with simple or rigorous imprisonment for a term extending up to two years, or with fine, or with both.
In the Draft Penal Code a provision dealing with such a matter did exist but somehow the same could not find a place in the Indian Penal Code at the time of its enactment. This section was added in the Code by Act XXVII of 1870. A similar crime under English criminal law is known as manslaughter by negligence. Three other sections in the Indian Penal Code, that is to say, sections 336, 337 and 338 also deal with rash or negligent acts but these are with respect to endangering life or personal safety of others, causing hurt in such matters and causing grievous hurt in such matters respectively.
Rash or negligent act
Rashness and negligence have nowhere been defined in the Code. However, it can be said that rashness is an overhasty act, opposed to a deliberate one done without due care and caution, while negligence is an utter disregard for the life and safety of others.
The Supreme Court has observed to the same effect in Bhalchandra v. State as were the observations made in Idu Beg v. Emp. that criminal rashness is hazarding a dangerous or wanton act with the knowledge that it is so, and that it may cause injury, but without intention to cause injury, or knowledge that it will probably be caused. The criminality lies in running the risk of doing such an act with recklessness or indifference as to the consequences.
Criminal negligence is the gross and culpable neglect or failure to...