Criminal Law consists of mens rea and actus rea, where mens rea a guilty mind, actus rea is the guilty act.Chapter IV of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is based on the absence of a mens rea which is necessary for the commission of a crime as it provides for a distinction between an act purposefully done with criminal intent, and an act not committed purposefully with such an intent..
Accident (S. 80)

S.80 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 accommodates the overall special case of ACCIDENT. To establish a wrongdoing, there must exist a blameworthy demonstration for example actus rea and blameworthy brain for example mens rea, the two of them must happen.

S.80 states, any demonstration managed without criminal goal, or with information with legitimate consideration and safeguard while doing a legal demonstration in a legal way with legal methods, will comprise as a mishap, and won't be an offense under the said demonstration.

The elements of a ACCIDENT are:

• The act must be an adversity or a ACCIDENT

• There must be no criminal goal or information

• The act must be of a legal sort or a result of a legitimate demonstration done by legal
methods in a legal way

• Proper care and alert must exist

A mishap must be accidental and sudden. It suggests to an incident strange course which no reasonable man could foresee or envision.

EXAMPLE: A is working with a sledge; while working, the top of the mallet takes off and hits B, subsequently slaughtering him. Appropriate consideration and precautionary measure was taken by A, consequently his demonstration will reasonable and not an offense.

State of Orissa v. Khora Ghasi, the accused killed the victim by shooting an arrow with the bona fide belief that he was shooting a bear who had entered his field to destroy his crops, the death was said to be an accident.

Accident in unlawful act

In the event that a mishap happens while doing an unlawful demonstration, at that point the demonstration would not be esteemed to be a mishap yet there might be no risk of the mischief caused if there is no association between the damage and the demonstration.


Jageshwar v. Emperor the blamed was hitting the casualty with his clench hands and accidently hit the spouse of the charged who was holding her 2-month-old youngster, the blow hit the top of the kid which brought about his demise. It was held that despite the fact that the kid was hit unintentionally, the demonstration was not legitimate, not done by legal methods or in a legal way.

Act finished with legitimate consideration and alert

On account of Bupendrasinh A. Chuadasama v. Territory of Gujarat, Bupendrasinh, the appealing party, who was an equipped constable shot his boss, the head constable which brought about his demise. Both the people were posted in a similar company at Khampala Dam which was at serious risk. One night, the blamed noticed the casualty strolling close to the pinnacle of the dam at which he pointed his bother and shot the person in question. The denounced argued he was carrying out his watching responsibility. The Supreme Court wouldnT give the charged the advantage under S. 80 as the demonstration was not dedicated with legitimate consideration and alert.

BURDEN of Proof

All together for a blamed to profit the advantage under S. 80, proof of no criminal goal or information is of high noteworthiness and fundamental. The court will see the case without specific conditions, making it a piece of S. 105 of the Evidence Act. On account of K.M. Nanavati v. Province of Maharashtra4, it had been held that the weight of verification for benefiting a protection lies upon the denounced. The blamed requirements to fulfill the court that their existed no mens rea.

Absence of Criminal Intention or Knowledge

The two essential elements for committing an offence is mens rea and actus reus. Mens rea being one of the most important elements, if any act was done with the very purpose of committing that act intentionally, then he is said to be liable or punishable under IPC. However, in cases of accident and misfortune, there is something that happens out of the ordinary course of things which was not prudent and no reasonable precautions can be taken against it. However, in case of  Sukhdev Singh v. State of Delhi , the accused pleaded that while doing a lawful act, he accidentally committed murder of deceased. But the evidence showed that accused during the course of scuffle deliberately used gun and fired shots at deceased. Hence, the Supreme  Court held that it was not a case of accident covered under Section 80.

A Lawful Act in a Lawful Manner by Lawful Means

An act is said to be done accidentally if it is neither done willfully nor negligently. For constituting an offence under negligence, a lawful act is said to be done in a lawful manner by illegal means or a lawful act done in an unlawful manner by legal means. For getting oneself acquitted from an offence under the exception of accident, then he/she must have done a lawful act in a lawful manner by lawful means. For better understanding, if two friends agree to accidental injuries in a wrestling bout with each other. Here, if one of them dies in the course, the other can claim protection under this section if there was no foul play within that time, since the wrestling bout is a lawful act done in a lawful manner by legal means.

Why is accident a defence?

It is necessary for there to exist both a guilty mind and a guilty act for it to constitute as criminal. S. 80 focuses on the absence of mens rea i.e. guilty mind when there is an accident. It exempts a person who has committed an innocent or lawful act in a lawful manner, due to an unforeseeable situation which is a result of an accident or a misfortune.

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